Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2018
Scotch thistle, redcurrant spice and aromatic highland herbal and spice aromas on the nose, gives way to an intriguing textural, flowing palate. This wine shows great strength intertwined with elegance, depth and poise.
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This is a beautifully approachable yet complex wine from this boutique, biodynamically farmed estate, owned by actor Sam Neill with a talented winemaking and viticulture team spearheaded by Dean Shaw and Mike Wing, respectively. The nose conjures images of cherry pie cooling on a windowsill, a rosebush blooming from the sun-warmed soil beneath. Savory, sappy tannins wind around silky, high-toned fruit in the mouth. A tightrope walk of balance of power and elegance with crunchy acidity to break the fall. Drink now–2028.
Established in 1993 by itinerant actor Sam Neill, initially the sole aim was to share ethereal pinot noir moments with loved ones. Sam is now the only producer to own land in the three main valleys of Central Otago - Gibbston, Bannockburn (Cromwell Basin) and Alexandra. All vineyards are certified organic. Two Paddocks Estate Pinot Noir is an assemblage of the four vineyards and is a barrel selection comprised of the older blocks. Tiny volumes of single vineyard wines, The Proprietor's Reserves, are also produced. The First Paddock Vineyard is in Gibbston, The Fusilier Vineyard is in Bannockburn and The Last Chance and The Red Bank Vineyards are in Alexandra.
Central Otago is the Southern-most viticultural area in the Antipodes--it sits on the 45th Parallel below Tasmania. Two Paddocks aims to produce understated gentle savoury expressions of their extreme Southern cool climate schist rock origins. Two Paddocks vineyards and wines are certified organic and revolve around a holistic sustainable farming model wherebye all waste from the winery is returned to the vineyards and converted to compost, to be fed back on to the land. The over-riding philosophy is to never take out of the soil more than is being given back. This robust soil biomass will create vibrant healthy vines that produce the very best expressions of their Central Otago terroir. All the crew in the vineyard are full time employees of Two Paddocks, except for the height of summer when extra help is required for all the labour intensive work that organic farming practices demand eg. green thinning and hand harvesting.
Home to the globe’s most southerly vineyards, which are cultivated below the 45th parallel, Central Otago is a true one-of-a-kind wine growing region, but not only because of its extreme location.
Central Otago is more dependent on one single variety than any other region in New Zealand—and it isn’t Sauvignon blanc. They don’t even make Sauvignon blanc there.
Pinot Noir claims nearly 75% of the region’s vineyards with Pinot Gris coming in a far second place and Riesling behind it. This is also New Zealand’s only wine region with a continental climate, giving it more diurnal and seasonal temperature shifts than any other.
The subregion of Bannockburn has enjoyed the most success historically but the area’s exceptional growth has moved to the promising regions of Cromwell/Bendigo and Alexandra districts. Central Otago is known for its fruity and full-bodied Pinot noir. With the freedom to experiment here, growers and winemakers are easily exhibiting the area’s great potential.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”