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

Mixing Fine Wine and Celebrity

The Cannes Film Festival featured in the news this week and reminded me that in France many celebrities are known to own vineyard and chateaux.

Instead of opening a bottle of French wine for the occasion, I decided fairly to try the Central Otago wine from Two Paddocks Vineyards because behind this label is New Zealand's very successful movie star Sam Neill.

The choice of a good, rich, warm pinot noir from our southern production was also appropriate with the cold weather wave we are suffering.

This small 2ha vineyard planted in 1993 in the eastern end of the Gibbston Valley has been dedicated solely to pinot noir. The venture is about a great interest to try to produce premium quality grapes and then wine from this noble variety.

Three vintages have been already released and the current one, I tasted 1999, is made from fruits of intense ripeness and flavours resulting from a warm-dry summer, long-stable autumn with an unprecedented drought.

I was staying in Queenstown at the time and I remember well the locals talking about "exceptionally dry conditions this year." The wine produced has, today, a rich-red colour and offers a bouquet of aromatics herbs and ripe berry plumy fruits.

Mouthfilling, it has a good texture and a nice complexity from sweet fruit characters and nutty spicy notes. The oak flavours are well integrated giving a good balance and a soft finish.

Ideal to accompany winter meals likes casseroles and well-flavoured meats.

As with many other pinot noir from Central Otago, it's not really affordable for everyday drinking (about $33) but it's definitely worth trying, just for the pleasure.

I'm actually very impatient to taste the 2000 vintage.

Be quick if you want to do the same because the quality is there but also the reputation.

© Copyright 2002, The Southland Times (New Zealand). Posted with the permission of the publisher.

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