Two Paddocks top single vineyard pinots

Two Paddocks owner Sam Neill and friend (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

Two Paddocks owner, Sam Neill, is the only wine producer with vineyards in Gibbston, Earnscleugh (Alexandra) and Bannockburn (I’m sure someone will get in touch if they can also lay claim to a similar spread of vineyards). That fact added an extra frisson of interest when a trio of Two Paddock’s single vineyard wines from the 2015 vintage arrived on my doorstep.

Before tasting the wines blind I studied the labels of each. My guess was that the Bannockburn label “The Fusilier” would win line honours ahead of the typically tighter, more restrained wines from Gibbston and Earnscleugh. I guessed that the wine from the cooler Gibbston vineyard might bring up the rear.

I was surprised to discover that, when tasted blind, my order of preference was exactly the reverse.

The 2015 Two Paddocks ‘The First Paddock Gibbston Vineyard’ Pinot Noir was my top wine with a score of 96 points. Like the others, it appeared to have been made with an incredibly light touch (take a bow winemaker, Dean Shaw) and had a most appealing delicacy and ethereal texture. I recalled the words of Japan’s only Master of Wine, Kenichi Ohashi, who believes that great pinot noir should have the sort of purity that is much prized in top water (particularly important in Sake production). This wine has it in spades. It’s a wonderfully ethereal wine. (NZD $80)

The 2015 Two Paddocks ‘The Last Chance Earnscleugh Vineyard Pinot Noir also shows appealing purity with an array of floral, mineral and cherry flavours. A charming wine that needs time to reveal its full potential. (NZD $80)

Finally the 2015 Two Paddocks ‘The Fusilier Bannockburn Vineyard’ Pinot Noir is the most robust and firmly structured of the three wines, with perhaps more obvious oak. It clearly needs time. (NZD $80)

I look forward to trying all three in a few year’s time when, who knows, the order of preference may have reversed.

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