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1998 Neill Pinot Noir

About the wine

Foundation Wine

"Rosemary for remembrance."




Tasting Notes

This vintage has a deep red colour with a ripe, rich berry, plum and toasted herb bouquet. The taste is a very broad concentrated Pinot Noir, well structured and of good weight and intensity, with fine-grained grape and oak tannins.

Vintage and Harvest Notes

1998 was an exceptional season. The vines started flowering in December 1997. The season began with strong cool westerlies. As the wind abated in summer, there came an extremely intense El Niño influence which culminated in the driest, hottest 16 to 18 months on record. Berry ripening was short and compact. The grape harvest started on April 27 from the East Paddocks and May 8 from the West Paddocks.


The fruit was selectively hand-picked: 70% of the grapes were destemmed and 30% were left in whole bunches. Winemaker Rudi Bauer undertook four ferments. He left the uncrushed berries to cold soak for five days to extract the optimal flavour and colour, then fermented the four lots for seven to ten days at a maximum temperature of 33° C. Each lot was then given five to ten days of post-fermentation. Following fermentation Rudi aged the wine in French oak barrels, 40% of which were new, to balance the flavours and add subtle hints of cedar and vanilla.

Winemaker: Rudi Bauer

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Award / Reviewer Date Rating Review
Bob Campbell, Cuisine June/July 2000 Best of the Jun 2000 89 Points

By Bob Campbell
June/July 2000

$32 -- Drink now or cellar for up to 5 years.

Sweet plum and cherry flavours with a beguiling silken texture. Very attractive Pinot Noir. Deliciously drinkable.

Charmian Smith, Otago Daily Times Apr 2000 TBC

12 April 2000, Otago Daily Times
By Charmian Smith

Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile red wines. At its best, charming with an underlying strength and hinting of cherries and mushrooms, it goes well with a huge range of food. However, fine Pinot Noir has always been expensive and often been over priced. Now, as new plantings come on stream, more reasonably priced bottles are emerging on the shelves. ...

Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 1998

(about $32) is the second vintage from Sam Neill's vineyards, and still in very short supply. As more vines come into production, larger quantities should be available from 1999 on. This shows typically Central Otago cherry-plum fruit with a hint of sappiness, but also concentration, length and a fine texture. It developed more charm with being open a day, indicating it will develop with bottle age--something Neill has often said about Central Otago Pinot. ***½ .

Peter Saunders, Saunders on Wine Mar 2000 Lots of flavour

Light-textured wine but lots of flavour with some racy Otago acid which will give the wine some life. Feels young but opened up well in the glass. Best with two more years.

John Saker / Capital Times, Winepress Dec 1999 1999Wine of the Week

This little beauty (s/available last time looked) at Bono Street Wine and Liquor for $32 - for some reason cheaper than the 97 vintage of the same wine. It's a well organized Otago pinot: with elegant berry fruit flavours and a nice acidic edge.