THOSE revelling in the excitement of pinot noir grown in New Zealand's boom Central Otago region need not look far for someone to champion the variety's growing global stature.
Step forward Kiwi actor Sam Neill, whose Two Paddocks label is among Central Otago's top-echelon pinot noirs.
Spend some time with Neill with a glass of pinot in hand and you soon experience his passion for the grape.
Even though he's hard-pressed to make a profit from his wine business, his commitment to producing super-premium pinot noir and reaping the enjoyment that comes from being a vigneron makes up for any shortfall.
Neill began planting his vineyard in the Gibbston Valley in 1993, unveiling his debut Two Paddocks release four years later. His thirst for further adventure led him to the nearby Alexandra Valley where he's added two more vineyards to help grow his brand.
To Neill, Central Otago provides the perfect climate and soils to produce world-class pinot noir. He has cleverly recruited a talented team, led by winemaker Dean Shaw, to keep the business ticking over while he's away on filming assignments.
Current releases available in Australia are the top-drawer 2007 Two Paddocks Pinot Noir ($55), featuring the best grapes from his three vineyards. His 2008 Picnic Pinot Noir ($32), a less serious drop, is also engagingly attractive.
Sale of Liquor License Ref: OF129
Licence No. 67/OFF/30/2022
Expires 24th August 2025