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2015 The Fusilier Pinot Noir

About the wine

Named in honour of Sam's father, Major Dermot Neill.

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

Tasting Notes

Vintage Comment:
A cool spring in October and into November was followed by warm dry weather over December and a particularly hot and dry January.  Flowering was finished by the end of December.  Vigour was low and the vines were only green thinned and shoulders removed in the same pass.  Wide open bunches meant very little disease pressure was experienced and we started harvest on the 1st April 2015.

Winemakers Notes:
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.

Spicy red fruit, dried herb and wildflower aromatics leading to a feminine, lithe and textural driven wine.  This wine shows great tension, verve, density and persistence.


pH  3.64                                TA   6.0 g/L                                Alc  13.5 %

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

Bottled: March 2016        Total Production: 350 doz            Cellaring: 2015 – 2022

Fusilier PN 2015


Award / Reviewer Date Rating Review
Wine Enthusiast May 2021 92 Points

In “27 Celebrity Wines Ranked Worst to Best: Drew Barrymore’s Pinot to Fergie’s Syrah,” Thom Geier shares the latest reviews of celeb-owned wines. Among them is Sam Neill’s TWO PADDOCKS The Fusilier 2015, which was given a 92-point rating by Wine Enthusiast.


Michael Cooper's NZ Wines 2018 Buyer's Guide Dec 2017 5 Stars

The second 2015 vintage (5*) was estate-grown at Bannockburn, at the western end of Felton Road. Hand-picked, it was fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in French oak barriques (33 per cent new). Deep ruby, with a hint of development, it is savoury and complex, with good weight, fresh acidity and concentrated, ripe, cherryish, plummy, nutty flavours that linger well. Sweet-fruited and supple, it's already delicious, but well worth cellaring to 2019+. Nick Stock Contributing Editor Nov 2017 94 Points

This has performed very well in 2015 with red cherries, boysenberries and blueberries amid a swathe of sappy forest and bracken notes. Subtle toasty oak here too. The palate is full and fleshy, packed with rich red and dark cherry and cocoa powder flavors. Tannins clasp the finish neatly with nicely judged structure and grip.

Wine Spectator, Maryann Worobiec Aug 2017 95 Points

 As reviewed in Wine Spectator Insider, Hot Wines 15/2/17

Opens with beautiful aromas of lavender, clary sage and violet.  Refined and detailed, with velvety tannins adding some appealing traction to the core of raspberry and black cherry.  Everything comes together with tremendous harmony on the long, generous finish.  Drink now through 2030.


As tasted for Wine Spectator article "Upwardly Mobile"  31 Aug 2017, Maryann Worobiec

The best New Zealand Pinots are world-class, and three examples (including Two Paddocks The Fusilier Pinot Noir 2015) earned classic scores (95-100 Points).  


Michael Cooper, The Listener Jun 2017 5 Stars

Great Winter Wines from around New Zealand
Proprietor Sam Neill’s red is deep ruby, savoury and smooth, with good weight (13.5% alc/vol) fresh acidity, and concentrated, ripe, cherryish, nutty, complex flavours that linger well. It’s already delicious.

Raymond Chan Wine Reviews Apr 2017 18.5 / 20

Ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter edged.  This has a softly full and voluminous nose of ripe, dark-red berry fruits with a solidly packed core with harmoniously entwined aromas of dark thyme herbs, red florals, whole bunch stalk nuances and savoury, earthy plum notes.  The aromatics grow in presence with aeration.  Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich, broad and mouthfilling flavours of dark-red berry fruits with dark plum and spice notes, along with savoury dark herb, whole bunch stalk and earthy elements.  The fruit is supported by balanced, fine-grained tannin extraction providing elegant structure and grip, with the acidity softly ripe and integrated.  The wine flows smoothly to a fulsome, even finish of red berry and plum fruit with notes of spice and earth.  This is a rich, mouthfilling, smooth-flowing Pinot Noir with ripe red berry fruit with plum, herb and earthy detail, on a finely extracted palate.  Match with casseroles and game meat dishes over the next 6-7+ years.  Clones 115, 10/5, 677, 777, 6, 5, 113 and 114, hand-picked and sorted, indigenous yeast fermented with one-third whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in one-third new French oak barriques.

Bob Campbell MW Wine Reviews Apr 2017 93 Points

Bright, fresh pinot noir with delicate cherry, thyme, violet, plum and spicy oak flavours. Youthful and needing time to integrate and develop both oak and fruit, although the wine is certainly very approachable now.

Sam Kim, Wine Orbit Mar 2017 97 Points

This is symphonic and seductive on the nose displaying dark cherry, game, truffle, thyme and violet characters, followed by a concentrated palate that is multi-layered and persistent with pristine fruit flavours and fabulous savoury notes. The wine is sensually expressed and refined, brilliantly structured by fine, chalky tannins, providing a wonderfully firm mouthfeel and an extremely long finish. At its best: 2018 to 2027.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown,Wine Advocate #228 Dec 2016 92 Points

Pale ruby-purple in color, the 2015 The Fusilier Pinot Noir has an earthy nose with notes of underbrush, loam, fungi and moss over a core of cranberries and red currants. Medium-bodied, it fills the palate with complex earthy/meaty flavors supported by a solid backbone, finishing long and chewy.  Drink 2016-2021