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2018 The Fusilier Pinot Noir

About the wine

“We grow our premium Two Paddocks Pinot Noir entirely on our four small Vineyards in Central Otago. In some exceptional vintages, listening carefully, we realize that one of these may have something extraordinary to say in its own right. It is only then that we will make one of these very rare single vineyard wines.”  Sam Neill, Founder & Proprietor

The Fusilier Vineyard is named in honor of Sam’s father, Major Dermot Neill, a soldier in the Royal Irish Fusilier Regiment for twenty years before returning home to Dunedin, New Zealand, where he ran the family Wine & Spirit business, Neill & Co. Planted entirely in 2000, The Fusilier is 5.6 hectares of pinot noir, situated on a rolling northerly facing terraces at the western end of Felton Rd and bordered by the vineyard of the same name. Soils on the terraces consist of deep alluvial fans, which are made up of varying depths of silt, sand and gravel layering all derived from mountainous raw schist parent material. Elevation 275m and rainfall 350mm.


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Tasting Notes

Vintage Comment:

Two Paddocks 2018 harvest will be remembered as the earliest picking date on record. A warm spring that quickly turned in to a hot summer with much warmer night time temperatures than are typically experienced in Alexandra. Ideal conditions over flowering, which was a month early, began on the 20th November. Again, perfect growing conditions meant veraison also began a month early on the 20th January and then the extreme heat and dry finished abruptly on the 1st February. Cooler temperatures over February / March thankfully slowed ripening down and intensified flavour development, but harvest still began nearly a month earlier than typical on the 14th March and was over by the 11th April. Both the grapes and stems were beautifully ripe, intensely flavoured and in perfect health.

Mike Wing, Viticulturist (Since 2009)

Winemakers Notes:

Hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard. 65% whole-bunch fermentation in a 3.5 tonne wooden cuve. 5 day cold soak. No commercial yeast added, ferment temperature peaked at 32° – post fermentation transferred to medium and light toast French barriques. 30% new oak and the balance in one- and two-year fill barrels, for 11 months maturation. Light filtration prior to bottling

Bright bramble red currant violet and wild herb aromatics leads to a spicy warmly textured mouthfeel showing great elegance and depth.  Great complexity and drive. 

Dean Shaw, Two Paddocks Winemaker (Since 1999)


pH  3.62                                    TA   5.8 g/L                               Alc  13.0%

Proprietor: Sam Neill                   Viticulturist: Mike Wing             Winemaker: Dean Shaw

Bottled: February 2019                 Total Production: 300 doz         Cellaring: Up to 12 years

The Fusilier Pinot Noir Generic



Award / Reviewer Date Rating Review
Wine Spectator Jun 2021 94 Points

“Stylish and impressive, mixing a core of creamy maraschino cherry and framboise, supple and elegant, but not shy on details. Shows off oolong tea, white pepper, sweet paprika and a touch of toffee on the long finish.”

2021 Vinous Media - Rebecca Gibb MW Dec 2020 94 points

Drinking Window: 2022-2030

This is a serious, richly aromatic wine that is still youthful and needs to shed its oak-like nutty characters. 

It offers a kiss of sweet cherry fruit on entry and while it fills the mouth, it is not heavy. 

Hailing from the Bannockburn area, it displays the expected richness and abundant tannic frame that provides the belt, drawing in the wine's waist.

The finish offers the drive that a high percentage of whole-cluster fermentation (a whopping 65%) imbues, as well as fennel and thyme herbs. Nick Stock Contributing Editor Oct 2019 96 Points

Released June 2020:  Fresh aromas of red cherries and red-plum pastry here. This has very attractive, alluring style. On the palate, it has a very smoothly honed feel with rich red cherries, delivered in smooth and succulent mode. Long and silky finish, bathed in supple, ripe red-cherry flavors. From organically grown grapes. Drink now. Screw cap.