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1997 Neill Pinot Noir

About the wine

Foundation Wine

"This one's for you, Mike." 




Tasting Notes

This wine is well-coloured and concentrated, with strong cherry and plum flavours and a subtle but complex gamy influence.

Vintage and Harvest Notes

Spring and early summer 1996 were cool with some below-average temperatures lasting two to three days. The vines started flowering on December 30. March was cool with only six days over 20° C and there were many heavy dews and light frosts. It became a little warmer in April, but the season finish abruptly with a 2.5% frost on April 22.

The slow bud burst and flowering due to relatively cool temperatures resulted in a lower than average yield. However the autumn was a typical Indian Summer which ripened the Pinot Noir grape to a very good concentration and intensity. The grapes were hand-picked in early May.


The wine was made initially by the late Mike Wolter and completed by winemaker Rudi Bauer. The process started with a pre-fermentation cold soak. The berries were left on their skins after fermentation until they were in harmony. Then the grapes were pressed and the wine was matured for 10 months in French oak barrels.

This vintage was started by the late Mike Wolter and completed by winemaker Rudi Bauer.

97 bottle


Award / Reviewer Date Rating Review
Bob Campbell, Cuisine, Issue 70 Sep 1998 90 Points


$28 -- Drink now or cellar for up to 5 years.

First release from a brand new Central Otago winery owned by actor Sam Neill. Strong cherry and plum flavours with savory, gamy influence that adds greater complexity and interest. The wine has good richness, impressive concentration and a silken texture. Available in limited quantities.

New Zealand Listener, Keith Stewart Aug 1998 One of the best wine

A sweet red noseful, fruit fresh and just a touch scatological. The taste is all enthusiasm, bright-eyed, slender body studded with red fruit flavours and the more mellow, complex tones of horse shit, or is it cow shit. With the supple tension of good pinot noir, Otago's typical fruit zip and well-measured winemaking, this is already one of the best wines yet from the deep south. The only problems is that there is so little of it.