Two Paddocks Winery Picnic Pinot Noir 2012, Central Otago

Remember movies like The Piano, Jurassic Park or The Hunt for Red October? What do these pictures all have in common? Any idea? Well, if you have good eyesight and look at the admittingly tiny photo above a bit closer you might recognize a gentleman. The gentleman to the left. Of course the one on the label, not the one in the background who seems to take his Fido out for an early morning walk in Kensington Gardens. This very gentleman is the - let's say - „unifying dimenson“ with the name: Sam Neill. A still very well known actor from New Zealand who started the Two Paddocks winery as proprietor in 1993 near Gibbston in Central Otago by planting 5 acres of Burgundian Pinot Noir clones. By the way, you can check out his true passion for Pinot Noir in a number of really funny clips on the winery's website. Now back to history: About the same time his friend Roger Donaldson planted another vineyard right next door. Hence the name for the winery was born: Two Paddocks! Since the late 1990s production increased significantly. Since then Two Paddocks produces up to five Pinot Noirs (depending on the vintage) each year. Since 2003 Two Paddocks also produces two Rieslings from Red Bank vineyard in the Alexandra Basin in the south of Central Otago. From a European perspective the true end of the wineworld! A part of today's entry-level Pinot Noir from 2012 with the well fitting name Picnic comes also from this very southern area around Alexandra. The grapes for the Picnic were harvested by hand, up to 85% were de-stemmed and were given a 5 to 7 days of cold maceration. Fermentation on skins with indigenous yeasts took another 5 to 7 days. Afterwards the Picnic was aged for 10 months in 1 to 4 year old French medium toasted barriques. Well, let's have our first sip of this very very distant Pinot Noir ….

The colour of my Picnic Pinot was more garnet than ruby red, very transparent, very clear and all the way to its corona still continously colourful. Its nose showed vital rosehips, dried hay, perhaps a hint of wild roses, Volvic mineral water, more red currant than raspberries and nicely reduced fragrances which reminded me of dark earth. Overall a really well balanced, mostly fruit-driven and quite characterful entry-level Pinot nose from Central Otago - which was totally free from warm or rich seeming allures. Its taste was determined, honest and very straight forward. Very lively, quite crisp – really good acid, and packed with well balanced aromas of red currants and some raspberries. Traces of the dried hay and reduced mineral aspects seemed a bit more shy, but still quite convincingly integrated. Everything on the palate seemed very cool and relaxed. No oak, alcohol or candy sweetness issues at all –> a balance you don't find that easy in entry-level Pinots from Central Otago ... just my opinion. Indeed a very sociable Pinot Noir. Well, sociable for people who have an understanding for lean, direct, a bit forthright and crisp Pinot, I guess. For others it might be a bit too light and even a bit too serious. I really enjoyed this one! Showing great at the moment! A most definite decent****, perhaps even very decent***** Pinot from the end of the long white cloud.

Next time I will have some Saar Riesling, well kind of ..., from South Australia! 

No comments: