The Fusilier 777 2019 Pinot Noir - Bannockburn, Central Otago
Single site. Single clone. Single fermentation.
“We grow our premium Two Paddocks Pinot Noir entirely on our four 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 reserve wines.” Sam Neill, Founder & 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, situated on a 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. Elevation 275m and rainfall 350mm.
777 Single Clone Pinot Noir
‘777’ is one of the so-called ‘Dijon’ pinot noir clones. Originally from Morey St. Denis in the Cote d'Or, it is at the heart of some of Burgundy's greatest reds. This clone's typically smaller grape size and bunch weights make for intensity in both the fruit flavours and aromatics. A small block of pinot noir vines that are all classified ‘Clone 777’ can be found thriving on an elevated warm terrace at The Fusilier Vineyard. Every year this combination of site, soil and clone consistently produces some of the punchiest and dense pinot noir off the entire vineyard. In 2019, the Two Paddocks Crew thought that this particular block of fruit and the resulting wine, was extraordinary enough to be a standalone wine and so the inaugural ‘The Fusilier 777’ was produced. There are less than one thousand bottles available so it is truly a micro production.
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. Mike Wing, Viticulturist (Since 2009)
Hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard. 88% whole-bunch fermentation in a 3.5 tonne wooden cuve. 8 day cold soak at 7c. No commercial yeast added. Fermentation took 9 days to complete and the temperature peaked at 33° – post fermentation maceration was 8 days at 28c. The wine was then transferred to medium and light toast French barriques. 25% new oak and the balance in one- and two-year fill barrels, for 11 months maturation. Light filtration prior to bottling.
Spicy mocha, dried herb and dark brooding fruit aromatics on the nose give way to a rich, warmly textured mouthfeel showing softness, density and length. Dean Shaw, Two Paddocks Winemaker (Since 1999)
pH 3.65 TA 5.7 g/L Alc 13.0%
Proprietor: Sam Neill Viticulturist: Mike Wing Winemaker: Dean Shaw
Bottled: February 2019 Total Production: 906 bottles Cellaring: Up to 12 years
|Award / Reviewer||Date||Rating||Review|
|Cameron Douglas MS||Jun 2022||Gold 96 Points|
"This is the inaugural release of the 777 wine from the Fusilier vinayard, made entirely from the 777 clone of Pinot Noir. Dean Shaw, the winemaker, was clearly impressed with this parcel of fruit and I can see why with aromas and flavours of a more masculine expression meaning more drive and power in the bouquet, but not without reflecting the vineyard yet clearly expressing the clone. There’s a fine savoury quality and a light floral pretty quality. Mineral and earth with spice qualities and sweetness of oak and as the wine opens up, more fruit concentration and ultimately length on the palate. Tannins show well with a coarse silk quality, acidtiy is bold and this simply needs more time accentuating a dried herb quality. Best drinking from 2025 through 2035."
|Bob Campbell MW||Feb 2022||95 Points|
"The first production of just 77 cases of pinot noir clone 777 probably makes this wine quite collectible. If you still need a motive to buy this wine—it tastes pretty good. Pure and floral with a seasoning of spice and a backbone of fine, peppery tannins. I'd love to re-taste it in a decade or two. "
|JamesSuckling.com Nick Stock Contributing Editor||Nov 2021||97 points|
"A very punchy, modern edition of this single parcel on Bannockburn that needs some time in the glass to open up. There’s blueberry, violet, red and dark cherry, sappy herbal notes and a spicy-oak thread, too. The palate has a very plush, intense and powerful core of rich, ripe red cherries, underscored by surging acidity that drives fresh and long. Impressive intensity and lovely tannin texture. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold. Screw cap."