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2019 The Last Chance 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 sites 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, Proprietor

The Last Chance is a beautifully sited two-hectare terrace perched in bright clear air above the Earnscleugh Valley, carefully planted with well-tended Burgundian clone pinot noir. It nestles amongst a small cluster of the World’s most southerly vineyards and takes its name from the watercourse that runs through its heart, hand dug by gold miners in the 1860s, The Last Chance.

Soils are raw schist gravels that are low in fertility and require careful nurturing.


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Tasting Notes


The Two Paddocks 2019 vintage experienced above average rainfall over the Winter and early spring, meaning soil water remained at luxury levels for vines over the entire growing season. The summer heat did accumulate though and shoots grew with ease without any destructive winds. Accurate leaf removal and crop thinning meant the vines had a balanced crop load and the fruit was very clean. A noticeable benefit was the lack of wind damaged shoots and leaves which really increases the vines ability to produce energy late into the season.


Hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard on the 6th April. 74.5% whole-bunch fermentation in a 3.5 tonne wooden cuve. 5-day cold soak. Indigenous yeast added. 24 days left on skins with one plunge per day. ferment temperature peaked at 32° – post fermentation transferred to medium and light toast French barriques for 11 months maturation. 12.5% new oak and the balance in second and third fill barrels.


Spice, wild thyme and Cuban coffee bean aromatics give way to gorgeous fully textured mouthfeel showing great tension and drive. The palate is elegant and flavoursome with a long lingering mineral finish showing poise, memory and site.

Click here for PDF tasting note

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

Bottled: April 2020                                 Total Production: 2202 bottles
Cellaring: Up to 12 years                         pH 3.48 -- TA 6.0 g/l
Alc 13%

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Award / Reviewer Date Rating Review
Wine Spectator Feb 2023 95 Points

"This red balances elegance and power effortlessly, opening with lavender, white truffle and sandalwood aromatics that lead to juicy black cherry and blueberry notes. The flavors gain momentum on the finish, where clove, blood orange, black tea and bittersweet chocolate accents linger on a velvety frame. Drink now through 2033." - M.W.

Wine Enthusiast - Best of Year 2022 Dec 2022 94 points

“This fresh, elegant Otago Pinot from actor Sam Neill and his talented team invokes a bowl of potpourri (think: dried rose petals, orange rind, cranberries, cherries and peppercorn). There’s a slight meaty, smoky vibe, too. The palate is elegant, knitted with fine-grained savory, sappy tannins on the light-to-medium weight palate and a crunchy acidity that makes it an easy drop for both cold and warm weather drinking.”

Cameron Douglas MS Jun 2022 Gold 95 Points

"Fabulous bouquet with a sense of time and place, pinosity and release aromas and flavours of velvet red cherry and dried raspberry, dried fruits and dried herbs. There’s an exotic pretty side to the bouquet as well then a whisper of plum and plenty of natural fruit spice. Complexity builds on the palate when the oak and tannins layer in, beautiful tannins, abundant and quite fine, not quite needle-point, but a lovely mouthfeel is delivered. Salivating and quite delicious with a long finish with soil attributes just beginning to show through laying in more complexity and depth. Best drinking from late 2025 through 2030+."

Aotearoa NZ Organic Wine Awards 2022 May 2022 Gold
The NZ organic wine awards are New Zealand's only wine show dedicated to organic and biodynamic wines. The awards were founded in 2014 and continue to grow each year.
Rebecca Gibb MW Apr 2022 92 Points

"The 2019 Pinot Noir The Last Chance Earnscleugh Vineyard is seductive and succulent, enticing you with its soft, mouthfilling fruit. Displaying a transparent ruby hue – this is thin-skinned Pinot Noir, after all – it follows it up with layers of fragrance, from dried herbs to red cherry and cranberry. It has a structured frame of fine, mouthcoating tannins and fine acidity that blossoms like a babbling brook on the fine, savory finish, reminiscent of graphite, clove and a slightly feral gamy meat."

Bob Campbell MW Mar 2022 95 Points

"Bright, vibrant pinot noir with cherry, raspberry, violet, rose petal and spicy oak. It is a fragrant wine, with underlying power and obvious cellaring potential. A very good example of Alexandra pinot noir."

Listed as 'Wine of the Week NZ' in the 25th April edition of the

Cellar 2022-2035 Nick Stock Contributing Editor Nov 2021 96 points

"This parcel from Earnscleugh is always elegant and fragrant and has performed well in 2020. There are light red florals of roses, some violets, wild red cherries, raspberries and a fine, spicy layer, as well as sappy elements. The palate has finely layered tannins that anchor in a central red-cherry core of flavor nicely. Fresh, elegant and drinkable, the flavors accumulate in impressive form, really moreish. Fresh acidity, too. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold. Screw cap."