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2016 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:

The Two Paddocks 2016 harvest began on the 5th of April 2016.  Overall very clean and balanced fruit was achieved from ripening under extended settled warm autumn conditions. After a cool start to the growing season with 18 frost events in 6 weeks, the heat really only arrived after flowering in late December.  Rainfall for the entire 8-month growing season of Sept-Apr was low with only 160mm received in total.  February was the start of the 'big finish', which saw an average temp of 19C for the month.  This flowed into March, April and May, which were all warm, settled and dry. Vintage was extraordinarily compact meaning that all harvesting was over by the 26th of April. 


Winemakers Notes:

Hand picked and sorted in the vineyard. 75% 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, 28% new oak and the balance in one and two year fill barrels, for 11 months maturation. Light filtration prior to bottling.  

Wild spice, violet, red fruits and some brooding whole bunch aromatics. Flowing on to a rich textural palate that shows great poise, elegance and density.


pH  3.49                                    TA   6.0 g/L                               Alc  13.0%

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

Bottled: March 2017                  Total Production: 300 doz         Cellaring: Up to 12 years

Fusilier Pinot Noir 2016


Award / Reviewer Date Rating Review
Wine Enthusiast - Editors’ Choice Nov 2018 94 Points

Walking a tightrope of grace and power, this wine from Actor Sam Neill speaks of drying flowers, red currants, leather, olives and wild herbs. The palate has focus and tension, fine, powdery tannins, lifted acidity and a herbal tonic finish. It’s a delicious drop now but could see 10 years in the cellar. Drink through 2028. Editors’ Choice Nick Stock Contributing Editor Oct 2018 96 Points

Beautifully pristine pinot, this sweet-spot pinot location has performed well in 2016, delivering a pinot that has an immaculately fresh core of red and black cherries with a sleek, smoothly rendered tannin frame that flows effortlessly and long. Truly superb pinot. Drink or hold.

Gourmet Traveller Wine, Nick Stock Aug 2018 96 Points

The maturity of the vines, the pedigree of the site and the determination of the producer all conspire here to deliver impressive quality. There's layers of fragrance, flavour and steady building, plus vibrant tannins. Hearty red cherry fruits abound, the texture is luxurious and the finish explodes with flavour. 

Raymond Chan Wine Reviews Jul 2018 18.5 Points

Even ruby-red colour, a little lighter edged.  The nose is elegant with a tight core of ripe dark-red berry fruit, the aromatics unfold in volume and unfold some nutty oak.  The palate is rich and sweet with ripe red berry fruits, quite up-front and accessible, and plush with sweet dark herbs anda little earth.  This is a ripe expression with plenty of fine tannin extraction and soft acidity.  It speaks of Bannockburn. 

Michael Cooper's NZ Wines 2018 Buyer's Guide Jun 2018 5 Stars

The 2016 vintage (5*) was estate-grown at Bannockburn, hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in French oak barriques (28 per cent new). Bright ruby, it is an attractively scented, elegant rather than powerful style, very savoury and complex, with fresh acidity and ripe cherry, plum, spice and nut flavours, showing excellent vigour and harmony.

The Wine Advocate, Joe Czerwinski Feb 2018 94+ Points

The Wine Advocate (235) Feb '18, Joe Czerwinski

My favorite of the 2016s from Two Paddocks comes from the warmest of its vineyards, was vinified as 70% whole clusters and saw the largest proportion of new oak (33%). That probably says more about my palate than Dean Shaw's winemaking or the various vineyards Two Paddocks owns, but it is worth noting. The 2016 The Fusilier Pinot Noir is floral and stemmy up front, but it's balanced by layers of mixed fruit that offer richness and texture without excess weight, finishing on silken notes of incredible delicacy and length.


Wine Spectator Insider, MayAnn Worobiec Dec 2017 92 Points

Velvety tannins set the stage for up-front, bright and tangy flavors of strawberry and cranberry. Details of talc, dried thyme and sage and black pepper emerge, lingering on the finish, with an air of elegance. Drink now through 2030.

Bob Campbell MW Dec 2017 96 Points

To be released 1 May 2018. Very appealing and aromatic pinot noir with plum, berry, spice, anise, thyme and nutty oak flavours. A silken, creamy texture adds extra appeal and gains support from peppery tannins, which suggest good cellaring potential.