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2012 The Last Chance Pinot Noir

About the wine

Proprietor's Reserve

“We grow our premium Two Paddocks Pinot Noir entirely on our three small Vineyards in Central Otago. In some exceptional vintages, listening carefully, we realise 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, Proprietor

The Last Chance is a beautifully sited small 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.


Tasting Notes

Vintage Comment:

A year of highs and lows in the vineyards – beginning well with strong even bud burst and then a very site specific inversion frost in Gibbston destroyed most of the First Paddock vineyard. Somewhat ironically, Central Otago then had a wonderful summer – even Christmas day was in the low 30’s. A generally warmer year than 2011, the fruit displayed ripe, berry fruit flavours, gentle acidities and well behaved pH levels. Ideal December flowering conditions in the other two vineyards (Red Bank and Alex Paddocks) resulted in well formed medium sized bunches at desired low cropping rates. A relatively long cool autumn ripening period produced low sugar levels and wine based on mineral complexity with subtle fruit characteristics.

Winemakers Notes:

Spicy brooding wildflower, thyme and violet aromatics followed by a richly textured wine showing elegant tannins, texture and tension.

Soils: Raw schist gravels.

Vines: 115 and 5 on various rootstock, 3500 vines per hectare.

Canopy management: VSP two cane, 4 Tonne per hectare, 80g bunches.

Oenology: Hand picked and sorted in the vineyard. One-third 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 for 11 months maturation. One-third new wood and the balance in second and third fill barrels. Light filtration prior to bottling.

pH  3.55 -- TA   6.0 g/l -- Alc  13.0%

Proprietor: Sam Neill

Viticulturist:  Mike Wing

Winemaker:  Dean Shaw

Bottled: March 2013

Total Production: 150 doz

Cellaring: 2015 -- 2025

Last ChancePinotNoir 2012


Award / Reviewer Date Rating Review
Elin McCoy, Bloomberg Feb 2018 Top single vineyard

2012 Two Paddocks the Last Chance pinot noir (US$70) 
Sam Neill founded his ambitious winery in 1993. This is one of his top single-vineyard pinots: smooth, spicy, and stylish.

Jancis Robinson MW, The Financial Times Oct 2016 16.5 Points

This won an International Wine Challenge trophy, from a vineyard at about 350 ft in Alexandra just next to the Red Bank home farm. Strong aroma of dried grasses with warm, attractively spicy fruit on the palate. 'Perhaps the world’s most southerly vineyard', according to the Two Paddocks website.

Michael Cooper's NZ Wines 2016 Buyer's Guide Dec 2015 5 Stars

From a vineyard 'perched above the Earnscleugh Valley', the generous 2012 vintage (5*) was released in 2015. Deeply coloured, it's already delicious, but shows great potential. Fragrant, with lovely weight, mouthfeel and harmony, it is rich but not heavy, with vibrant, cherryish, plummy, slightly nutty flavours, concentrated, savoury and supple. Best drinking 2016+.

Cameron Douglas MS, The Shout NZ March 2015 Mar 2015

There is complexity, pinosity, charm and elegance in the bouquet with roses, light red fruits some integration and moderate+ sweet oak suggestion. On the palate – dry and very reflective of the nose with roses, red apple skin, light red fruits and a distinctive earthy savoury quality; medium+ fine tannins, oak and acidity; balanced and well made.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate #216 Dec 2014 93 Points

Pale ruby-purple colored, the 2012 Last Chance Pinot Noir has gorgeous kirsch, red currant jelly, game and violets notes on the nose with nuances of thyme and truffles. Very elegant and fresh in the mouth with a great intensity of red fruit characters and satiny tannins, it concludes with great persistence and a minerally lift.

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. Issue Oct 2014 92 Points

The Best Of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Good medium red. Wild, soil-inflected aromas of red berries, pepper, underbrush, minerals and smoked meat; distinctly Old World in style--in fact, this reminded me a bit of northern Rhone syrah! Sweet, ripe and smooth, with a slight positive funkiness adding appeal to the broad but lively red fruit, brown spice and rose petal flavors. Lovely inner-mouth energy here, and good peppery, herbal lift. Boasts better depth than most 2012 pinots from New Zealand. Less salty and more fruit-driven than the basic 2012 release, finishing with more breadth and finesse, not to mention length. Very sexy wine, and a big success for this--or any--vintage.

Bob Campbell MW, BobsWineReviews Aug 2014 Gold 95 Points

Intense Pinot Noir with typical Earnscleugh tautness and minerality. Fine, pure and subtly powerful wine that shimmers with energy. It promises to age superbly.