Wine producer and renowned actor Sam Neill focuses on two varieties: pinot noir and riesling. Pinot noir is a logical choice. It is Central Otago’s star turn both in quality and quantity. Exporting Central Otago pinot noir may not be as easy as watching the phone and waiting for it to ring but it is not far away.Two Paddocks Riesling started strongly and has grown in stature ever since. The latest releases are among the best wines produced to date.
Riesling is a braver choice. Unless your name is Egon Müller your riesling is probably at least a moderately hard sell. I take my hat off to Neill for having the guts to run with riesling, presumably because it is a logical culinary partner to pinot noir and is a high performer in Central Otago. Riesling must to some extent have coat-tailed on the back of pinot noir while brand Sam Neill must have helped get both varieties established in the local and international wine market. Marketing 101 reminds us that a high-profile owner helps to introduce wine drinkers to their first taste of a new brand. After that you are on your own and will survive or perish on the quality of the wine.
Two Paddocks began producing riesling in 2009 (according to my tasting notes) with their entry-level Picnic Riesling, and introduced their Dry Riesling in the 2019 vintage alongside their regular riesling which I first tasted in 2011. Last year they launched Two Paddocks 2023 Schatzi Riesling. (“Schatzi” translates to “sweet heart”)
Two Paddocks Riesling started strongly and has grown in stature ever since. The latest releases are among the best wines produced to date. The wines have gained finesse and purity. Vine age and perhaps winemaker experience are making their mark.
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