NZ Organic Wine Awards: 'Sustainable Vineyard of the Year 2024' plus 2 Gold and 2 Silver Medals. Full details

Lifting Spirits. Glasses Too.

In the Pursuit of Knowledge and Long Life

Having decided a bit of cheer in the gloom might well be the ticket, Management decided this week to conduct a vertical tasting of older Two Paddocks vintages to see how they were holding up, testing both the longevity of our wines and the palates of key personnel.

We were all of us a tad anxious, given that no one had spoken to most of these wines for a considerable time, and the question is often asked of Central Otago – do its Pinots  have longevity? But all in all, we were most agreeably surprised. Even delighted.

All of our Pinot Noirs were alive and still drinking well, and all had developed into interesting and often fascinating wines. And all justify Dean’s approach to winemaking – structure is vital, we want to produce Pinots that do not fall over in 3 or 4 years, but develop and age with grace.

Our tasting panel was admittedly partial, but nevertheless equipped with considerable expertise. They tackled this job with great enthusiasm and energy, and their notes are reproduced in part here.

The Panel (left to right):

Mike Wing, Viticulturist

Sam Neill, Proprietor

Dean Shaw, Winemaker

Mark Field, Manager (pictured below)


Associate Panelists:

Grahame Sydney, Regionalist Painter and Lush

Kevin Ireland, Internationalist Poet and Lush

Wine Tasting Panel

Mark Field, Two Paddocks manager, examining the selection.

Mark Field


So .... starting at the youngest first:

2004 First Paddock Pinot Noir

Red brick rustic colour, bright acidity, great 'propolis' character, savoury earthy, currants, long finish. Reflects a pretty ordinary year, and the Prop least favoured this wine. Ready to drink, but not a stunner.

2003 Last Chance Pinot Noir "Evolved colour and rustic hue, but still hanging on followed by a sensual extremely elegant wine. Nice tension, doesn’t deliver . " --Dean Shaw.

Savoury and mineral. Long finish. Velvet with good acid grip. Prop very taken with this, and said he’d drink it all night, given a chance. All agreed, a great winevery burgundian . Perhaps the star of the day.

2002 First Paddock Pinot Noir

"Gorgeous brooding nose and mahogany dark leather couches. Still very much alive, very sensual. A rich ripe juicy sweet and lithe palate with great richness, very good elegance. This wine is looking delicious -- it's either having a very good day or just at a very good stage of its evolution." -- Dean Shaw

Leather, deep colour, spice and savoury, full mouth feel.  The Prop felt this was a ‘"spectacular" Pinot, with a nose nothing short of astonishing.

Some of us close to tears, this was such a great wine. Equally as good as the 2003 Two Paddocks Last Chance Pinot Noir, in an entirely different way. This wine is unmistakably Central Otago and Two Paddocks.

2001 Neill Pinot Noir

"Ready to drink, showing its age, may have just peaked. Very pretty, really liked it, but doesn’t show enough personality. Ticks all the boxes though. I didn’t polish this wine enough, started fining again the year after." -- Dean Shaw

Sweet fruit. Lacks a little in finish. The Prop nodded, lifted his eyebrows, but looked a tad under-excited.

By common agreement a respectable wine, and classically Central, but not not stellar.

2000 Neill Pinot Noir

"An extraordinary surprise, this entirely atypical wine from the most difficult of vintages, was universally adored by all present.

"Crazy aromatic and bizarre wine, it is still alive and still going – no idea how." -- Dean Shaw

Jammy stewed fruit, Christmas cake, very earthy. The proprietor was reminded of a very full chested Italian soprano at full flight in a great opera house.

This pinot brought a smile to all. A rare bird indeed. We only produced about 180 cases in all. Gorgeous.

1999 Neill Pinot Noir

This was the Annus Horribilis of the Crappy Cork, but happily this bottle was free of cork taint so we were able to look at it clearly.  

"Fruit driven, pretty wine, underworked pinot. Vibrant, but lacks a little texture and meat." -- Dean Shaw

We were all at ease with this wine and felt that at its age, and the youthfulness of the vines at the time, it stood up very well.

1998 Neill Pinot Noir

A bit surprising, young fruit and low density. Pleased the reduction has opened up" -- Dean Shaw.

This was the wine we had the least expectations for, but given its youthful limitations, we were surprised how well it was drinking. A modest success from a humble wine.

So to sum up – a terrific vertical flight that left us all beaming. Even the winemaker. Good cellaring of course is an important given.

Postscript: The winemaker, viticulturist and manager were still roaring at 3 30 am, and were a little late to work. This has been noted ...

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[email protected]

+64 3 449 2756

PO Box 506
Alexandra 9340
Central Otago
New Zealand


Sale of Liquor License Ref: OF129
Licence No. 67/OFF/30/2022
Expires 24th August 2025

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