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2019 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 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 Fusilier Vineyard is named in honour 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, on 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.

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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.


3 different fermentations from the single vineyard Fusilier in Bannockburn. Average fermentation time of 23 days, hand plunged no more than once a day with an indigenous yeast to start fermentation. Cold soaked at 8 degrees Celsius. Fermentation peaked at 33 degrees Celsius, post maceration at 28 degrees Celsius, then lightly pressed and settled. Finally racked to barrel for an average of 11 months.

Spicy whole bunch characters intermingle with redcurrant, wild thyme and violet aromatics. The palate is textural with a strong mineral thread and a fresh crunchy mouthfeel. The wine has a voluptuous sensual and elegantly memorable finish.

Click here for PDF Tasting note

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

Bottled: April 2020                               Total Production: 3517 bottles
Cellaring: Up to 12 years

pH 3.61                                                 TA 5.7 g/l
Alc 13%

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Award / Reviewer Date Rating Review
Wine Enthusiast - Best of Year 2022 Dec 2022 95 points

“Give this a moment of swirling in decanter or glass until it unravels. When it does, it’s an ever-changing specimen. The first thing you notice is a toasted-almond character— a smoky, nutty vibe that grounds the vibrant strawberry and cherry fruit. Then you notice the dried flowers and spice aromas: violets, roses, ground pepper, even thyme and mint. The palate is lightweight, ethereal, but, again, tethered by fine, talc- like tannins before it has time to fly away. Like this producer’s other wines, Fusilier—the passion project of actor Sam Neill—is entirely complete and ready to drink now, but could also cellar for another five to seven years.” 

Cameron Douglas MS Jun 2022 Gold 97 Points

"Complex, sophisticated, very seductive and captivating with an immediate sense of place. I know this vineyard and the wines that come from here - great memories on the first nose of this wine. Seductive and perfumed, soft and floral with fruits that remind me of aged cherry and maraschino, plum and baking spices, along with soft spice moments from barrel weaving together nicely. A ‘wow’ wine on the palate, a beautiful silky-smooth texture and contrast from needle point fine tannins, a lovely acid line and slowly developing. I love this wine, a real treat. Best drinking from 2025 through 2035."

Aotearoa NZ Organic Wine Awards 2022 May 2022 Silver
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 94 Points

"The 2019 Pinot Noir The Fusilier Bannockburn Vineyard is powerful, compact and structured. It retains a restrained mid-weight shape, but power is packed tightly within its frame, as if a ballet dancer has just performed a kung-fu kick. There's a firm line of acidity, and while the tannins are resolved, they most certainly contribute thrust. The wine's drive and its distinctive woody herbal notes, reminiscent of rosemary and pine, must surely come from the high percentage of whole bunches in the fermentation (a whopping 88% whole clusters). Beneath the array of herbs, you'll find gentle red berry fruit and the merest lick of festive spices from 11 months of maturation in oak (25% new). A characterful wine speaking of both its place and how it was made. Its innate structure means it can be cellared for a decade."

Bob Campbell MW Feb 2022 94 Points

"Elegant, organic pinot noir with cherry, mixed spice, red berry, floral, violet and nutty oak flavours. A fragrant, appealing wine with a promising future."

Cellar 20222032 Nick Stock Contributing Editor Nov 2021 95 points

"Attractive baking spices and ripe red cherries, as well as red plums, black tea, bergamot and a sappy, leafy edge. Tobacco and fresh herbs, too. The palate has a very polished feel with plush, deep-set blueberry and dark-cherry flavors, some cocoa nibs and a long, fresh finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold. Screw cap."