The 2016 releases from Central Otago producer Two Paddocks are stunning across the board and the timing couldn’t be better. This vintage marks the 20th release from Sam Neill’s pet project and warrants some reflection on the way this has developed. The six-hectare Fusilier Vineyard was acquired in 2014 and completed the jigsaw for Two Paddocks, adding a site that produces voluminous pinot to the matrix of earthy Gibbston Valley tannin structure and lithe Alexandra acidity.
2016 was an excellent vintage with good ripening conditions for pinot noir and the influence of the Fusilier Vineyard in the wines could not be clearer. The richness and completeness of the blended Estate Pinot Noir is a thing of beauty. With the Fusilier Vineyard contributing 60 per cent of the blend, it is a sublime wine in which many variables have conspired to deliver something truly special.
2016 Picnic by Two Paddocks Pinot Noir (A$35/NZ$34) The entry-level wine delivers value and bright, crunchy red cherry fruit in a crisp, drink-now mode. 90 points.
2016 Two Paddocks Estate Pinot Noir (A$50/NZ$55) Phenomenal pinot with a swanky mix of lighter red cherries and nicely played oak spice, crushed roses and wild herbs. The palate has a sturdy spine of tannin with cheek-filling, fleshy red cherry fruits. Deeply entwined tannin in a mode that conjures up the DNA of the best pinots from the region. 95 points.
2016 Two Paddocks Proprietor's Reserve The First Paddock Pinot Noir (A$85/NZ$85) A very impressive wine that shows multifaceted complexity in aroma, flavour and tannin structure. Red and dark cherry fruits, herbal threads and a distinct earthy, smooth underlay of tannin. 95 points.
2016 Two Paddocks Proprietor's Reserve Last Chance Pinot Noir (A$85/NZ$85) This is more about fine-etched acidity, the fruits are into a lighter pink berry zone and have certainly delivered a compelling wine in 2016. Zesty and aromatic with chalky wet stone notes, it has detailed tannin and vibrant tangy fruit flavours bolstered by bright acidity. 94 points.
2016 Two Paddocks Proprietor's Reserve The Fusilier Pinot Noir (A$85/NZ$85) The maturity of the vines, the pedigree of the site and the determination of the producer all conspire here to deliver impressive quality. There's layers of fragrance, flavour and steady building, plus vibrant tannins. Hearty red cherry fruits abound, the texture is luxurious and the finish explodes with flavour. 96 points.
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