Sometimes you must realise your limits and the limitations of a wine you might be holding onto. It’s so easy to put off opening a bottle waiting for the appropriate or better time. Of course the wine is special to you, and you want to maximise the memories and meaning the bottle might represent. But you must consider when is the best time to open the wine so it gives the best it can in a taste and balance sense.
So it was with the 2003 Escarpment Vineyard ‘Kupe’ Martinborough Pinot Noir. It was the first release of this wine from newly planted vines. It was the beginning of his new venture expressing what he wanted to do. And SWMBO and The Young One were involved with me in bringing the grapes in. It was back-breaking work as the vines were and still are low to the ground.
We had The Chairman with us, and there wasn’t go to be a better time to open my last bottle of the 2003 Kupe, unless we had Larry McKenna, the maker himself in our presence. Off came the top, into the glasses, and then the tasting procedure. Remarkably dark for a 13 year old wine. Some garnet to the ruby-red. Firm on the nose, the aromas of black and dark, savoury berry fruits. Clearly in a secondary phase, but not in the tertiary. Surprisingly, the whole bunch was not obvious, but then, Larry wasn’t as adventurous as he is today, and also young vines, so he wouldn’t want to mask or make too complex the fruit. The Chairman felt the oak was out there. I was OK on that. Then firm and structured on palate, the mouthfeel a little dry and firm. The fruit definitely starting to dry. But this was holding it all together and within limits. I would have liked to have drunk this around 2010 at latest, really. It would have been at its best level of pleasure.