Named in honour of Sam's father, Major Dermot Neill.
“We grow our premium Two Paddocks Pinot Noir entirely on our four small estate vineyards in Central Otago. In some exceptional vintages, listening carefully, we realise that one of these sites may have something extraordinary to say in its own right. It is only then that we will make one of these very rare single vineyard wines.” Sam Neill, Proprietor
The Fusilier Vineyard is named in honor 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 bkordered 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.
A cool spring produced slow growth until November, which along with parts of December, was above average warmth. Flowering started in the first week of December and lasted over three weeks. All vines were green thinned and shoulders removed in the same pass. Very little disease pressure and we started harvesting on the 31st March at The Fusilier.
Hand picked and sorted in the vineyard. One-third whole-bunch fermentation in a 3.5 tonne wooden cuve. 5 day cold soak. No commercial yeast added, ferment temperature peaked at 32 degrees – post fermentation transferred to medium and light toast French barriques for 11 months maturation. One-third new wood and the balance in second and third fill barrels. Light filtration prior to bottling.
Spicy dark black currant, violet and lifted herb aromatics. This gives way to an elegant texturally driven wine showing a strong sense of place, density and interest.
pH 3.58 -- TA 6.1 g/l -- Alc 13.5%
Proprietor: Sam Neill
Viticulturist: Mike Wing
Winemaker: Dean Shaw
Bottled: March 2015
Total Production: 300 doz
Cellaring: 2015 -2020
5 stars, 19.0 -- There is much to admire in this wine. The aromatics are low and fascinating - floral, soil after rain, turmeric, suggestions of oak spice. A central core of red and dark fruit notes, with a dash of plum compote, arrives swathed in sexy tannins. Sweet and savoury notes play off against each other. There is a gentle, substantial quality to the texture and wine grows and grows in the glass. Two Paddocks’ finest effort yet - a triumph.
June 2016, John Saker
5-stars, 18.5/20 -- Full, very dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour with light purple on the rim. This has a gently full and voluminous nose with complex layers of savoury dark-red berry fruits melded with dried herbs, earth and whole bunch stalk-like elements, and piquant, funky, minerally nuances, The aromatics are lively with a fresh, herbal underlay, and build in density with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the flavours of savoury red berry fruits, earth, dried thyme herbs and whole bunch stalk notes are complex and mouthfilling. The fruit is rich and enlivened by underlying acidity, and supported by fine-grained, powdery tannin extraction and structure. Alcoholic generosity and power drives the wine to a soft, open, savoury, red-fruited finish. This is a full-flavoured, savoury red-fruited Pinot Noir with whole bunch complexities, fine-grained structure and considerable power. Match with casseroles and game meat dishes over the next 6+ years. Fruit from the 5.6 ha "The Fusilier" vineyard on Felton Road, vines planted in 2000, hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with one-third whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in one-third new French oak barriques. 300 dozen made.
April 2016, Raymond Chan Reviews
5-stars, 97 Pts -- From their newly acquired vineyard at the end of Felton Road in the Bannockburn district, this is an exquisitely composed pinot showing aromas of dark berry, game, truffle and cedar on the nose. The palate is equally stunning with superb fruit concentration and weight, enhanced by velvety texture and supple tannins. Youthful yet immediately appealing, this is destined to develop magnificently. A great addition to already a formidable range of pinots at Two Paddocks. At its best: now to 2024.
Feb/March Tasting 2016, Sam Kim, Wine Orbit
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