We grow our premium Two Paddocks Pinot Noir entirely on our three small Vineyards in Central Otago. In some exceptional vintages, listening carefully, we realize that one of these 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 First Paddock is our original much loved Two Paddocks vineyard. Planted in 1993, it is now one of the older blocks in Central Otago. Superbly situated in the midst of upper Gibbston, planted in carefully selected Burgundian clone pinot noir vines and meticulously tended. This is a thoughtfully crafted expression of our foundation site.
A mild winter, soils with high moisture and an unseasonably hot dry spring were catalysts for a solid start to the growing season experienced in Central Otago. Flowering had finished in some vineyards before summer even began. Fruit set was correspondingly excellent across all sub- regions, promoting high berry numbers and the likelihood of tight bunches. These idyllic conditions continued through until mid December and then moderate rain and cooler temperatures were experienced over Christmas.
The remainder of summer saw warmer weather with the first signs of veraison at the end of January and most of the regions vineyards with well-coloured fruit come the first week of February. A stable autumn allowed for the fruit to receive extended hang time on the vines, which created wines with highly lifted fruit aromatics and strong mineral drive.
In 2011, this wine was again 100% sourced from the first twenty-five rows of Clone 5, which was planted in Gibbston at The First Paddock vineyard in 1993. Hand harvested and sorted then a 50% whole bunch indigenous ferment in a dedicated First Paddock French oak cuve. Matured in 30% new French oak with the balance in older wood for 11 months.
Earth, blackberry, spice and dark smoke aromatics, followed by a mineral driven flow. This wine has a tight and ethereal textured palate, shows good density with an elegant finish.
pH 3.61 -- TA 6.2 g/l -- Alc 13.5%
Proprietor: Sam Neill
Viticulturist: Mike Wing
Winemaker: Dean Shaw
Bottled: March 2012
Total Production: 130 x 6-packs
Cellaring: up to 10 years
Score 95 -- Deep red colour with a purple tint. The bouquet shows black cherry and dried herbs, a touch of spice, some meaty, smokey charred-barrel character, which seems ephemeral, and increasingly vegetal aromas and flavours. There’s a lot of charcuterie in this, and the wine has hidden layers of complexity on palate, deep and long and not overreaching itself. It’s not a try-hard, but has depth, length and seamless concentration. A lovely, lovely pinot! -- 26 May 2014, Huon Hooke
Score: 91 -- Fragrant and robust up front, with chicory and mahogany aromatics, complemented by a touch of crushed rock. Offers a powerful mix of dried lavender, orange zest, tangy cherry and raspberry flavors that are fresh and focused, delivering a smooth texture and wonderful persistence on the finish. Drink now through 2026. 50 cases imported. -- 8 August 2014, MaryAnn Worobiec, Wine Spectator
4 stars, 18+ Points -- Light pinot noir ruby, some age showing, well below midway. Bouquet is complex and very burgundian, floral clearly, red fruits centred on red cherry, and an exciting piquant lift to the wine again taking it to Cote de Nuits rather than the Cote de Beaune, but also hinting at trace brett. Flavours in mouth are richer than the colour suggests, some mellowing into secondary characters, the fruit and cedary oak harmonising, light in style yet concentrated too. It tastes closest in style to the Rippon, a little plumper, and shows similar analogies, just slightly more oaky to the finish. Cellar 3 – 8 years. -- June 2016, Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
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