Actor Sam Neill planted his original 2 hectare vineyard, the First Paddock site, at Gibbston in Central Otago in 1993. That vineyard has now been doubled in size and two more blocks added, the 3 hectare Alex Blocks vineyard perched above the Clutha River at Alexandra and the 5.5 hectare Redbank Paddocks site in the Earnscleugh Valley. Winemaker Dean Shaw crafts a stunning set of Pinot Noir wines under the Two Paddocks premium label along with gorgeous Pinot Noir and Riesling under the Two Paddocks Picnic label. A superb range of wines that impress with their detail and clarity.
The Fusilier Vineyard is named in honour of Sam’s father, Major Dermot Neill, a soldier in the Royal Irish Fusilier Regiment for twenty years before returning home to Dunedin, New Zealand, where he ran the family Wine & Spirit business, Neill & Co. Planted entirely in 2000, The Fusilier is 5.6 hectares of Pinot Noir, on rolling northerly facing terraces at the western end of Felton Rd and bordered by the vineyard of the same name. Soils on the terraces consist of deep alluvial fans, which are made up of varying depths of silt, sand and gravel layering all derived from mountainous raw schist parent material.
My favorite of the 2016s from Two Paddocks comes from the warmest of its vineyards, was vinified as 70% whole clusters and saw the largest proportion of new oak (33%). That probably says more about my palate than Dean Shaw's winemaking or the various vineyards Two Paddocks owns, but it is worth noting. The 2016 The Fusilier Pinot Noir is floral and stemmy up front, but it's balanced by layers of mixed fruit that offer richness and texture without excess weight, finishing on silken notes of incredible delicacy and length. Tasted: Mar 18; Drink: 2018-2025; Rating: 94+ Points; Joe Czerwinski; Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
Beautifully pristine pinot, this sweet-spot pinot location has performed well in 2016, delivering a pinot that has an immaculately fresh core of red and black cherries with a sleek, smoothly rendered tannin frame that flows effortlessly and long. Truly superb pinot. Drink or hold. Screw cap. Rating: 96 Points; James Suckling
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