I'm known to be a big fan of the New Zealand Pinot Noirs, they've been my trusted varietal and confidante since my mid twenties, have been with me through good times and bad, and some of the better parts of my literary writing were ghost written by my faithful companion.
This wine however is difficult for me to review; First, because I've been an almost lifelong fan of Sam Neill and had the pleasure of joining a dinner with him back when his wines first came to Northern Ireland, and he is a wonderful person; Second, he follows me on Twitter and might actually read this.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting off talking about the wine for any negative reasons but it's going to be hard to praise it without any calls of bias.
They say that if God made Cabernet Sauvignon then the Devil made Pinot Noir, so maybe it's appropriate that the guy who played Damian in Omen 3 works with this grape.
See what I did there?
Ok. You know what your typical NZ Pinot is going to be like, more medium bodied than it's French cousins thanks to the rich volcanic soil in that part of the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' unleashing flavours of cherry and plum.
The First Paddock has a hint of smokiness, spice and herbs, but it's the cherry and plum that take the lead, giving the wine a beautiful depth and complexity.
The colour is as dark as Sam Neill's heart is at the end of Event Horizon... ok, no more movie references. Pinot Noir always was on the darker end of the colour spectrum, something that I have always taken to be a hint of the hidden complexity of the grape, and the First Paddock is definitely on the darker end of the Dulux Colour Chart.
Not that I am likening this wine to paint, if my walls were coated in it I would have it licked off long ago.
The Central Otago Pinots I always consider that little bit lighter than those from Marlborough, the Marlborough region I usually find to have more of a slight tartness (which I really like) but I can't fault Otago for producing a wine this silky smooth.
In summary: I rate the Two Paddocks First Paddock among the top of New Zealand Pinot Noirs, it's worth having a bottle to treat yourself (and someone else if you really must).
You'll note from the picture that the bottle is empty, I made sure to fully research the wine before writing this review.
Country of Origin & Region
New Zealand, Central Otago
Dean Shaw, of Two Paddocks
Available for sale