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

Under the Grill

Having lived the life of Reilly: Ace of Spies, actor Sam Neill went on to even greater heights. The year 1993 was big, with starring roles in The Piano and Jurassic Park, plus he founded his Two Paddocks winery, well regarded for its Pinot Noir.

When did you first become interested in wine?
My love affair with wine began in February 1980 with a beaut bottle of Gevry - Chambertin, and continues to this day unabated. No harm so far. So cheers.

When did you first become interested in food?
After 10 long years of a bracing regime of systematic and deliberate starvation in New Zealand boarding schools, I now love food perhaps rather more than I should.

What is your ideal dinner party menu?
Bluff Oysters on the shell (why do we have to buy them in plastic pottles?), medium-rare, grass-fed New Zealand roast beef, Yorkshire Pudding, horseradish sauce, roast vegetables and fresh minted peas from my garden. Central Otago Apricot Crumble, with Kapiti cream. Seresin Sauvignon Blanc, a 6 or 7 year old Two Paddocks Pinot Noir, and a Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz.

What would be your death row dinner?
Macaroni cheese followed by fruit cake (prefer Irish Brack),  with a hacksaw inside, please.

What’s your pick of food and wine destination/s?
How kind of you to offer. I’d like to go to Sean’s Panaroma for dinner at Bondi, then brunch at Peter Gordon’s Providores in London, dinner at St. John and then onto Los Angeles for a late supper at Matsuhisa. Then home to our Two Paddocks vineyard at Clyde. A blissful day and a half.

What’s your idea of the worst food and wine crimes?
Foie Gras on candyfloss. No kidding – I actually ate this a few months ago in a Californian restaurant. Ghastly. As for wine crimes, a bloke who worked for me insisted on putting raspberry fizz in his perfectly good white wine. Should have fired him.

Who are your wine heroes?
 Larry McKenna, Peter Lehmann, and the benighted  fool who planted shiraz in an ugly dry paddock miles from anywhere,  and miraculously produced Hill of Grace.

What’s coming next in the wine world? 
Next up Two Paddocks Pinot 2009 – bound to be a sensation.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Most chickens crossing roads I assume to be after my autograph. I never say no to a chook.

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