Thursday saw a very exciting visitor to hangingditch – actor Sam Neill, star of Jurassic Park and The Tudors, among many other films and shows. He wasn’t visiting as an actor, though, but as the proud owner of a winery, Two Paddocks, in Central Otago, New Zealand. Sam comes from a family of wine merchants, but his serious interest in wine rose from a visit to the home of James Mason and his wife in the early 1980s. This eventually led him to forming his own winery in 1993. At first, he concentrated on Pinot Noir, which has since become Central Otago’s signature grape, but in 2000 he started planting Riesling as well because his wife had stopped drinking red wine – a good a reason as any to plant Riesling!
We tasted through the range of Two Paddocks wines. There are two Rieslings: Picnic 2013 (£20) – off-dry, lime and peaches, and which Sam described as a good introduction to Riesling for Sauvignon Blanc lovers – and the Two Paddocks Riesling 2012 (£25), a dry, complex Riesling developing those classic petrol aromas. The four Pinot Noirs are all quite different in style. The Picnic (£25) is fruity but not too jammy, while the Two Paddocks 2010 (£25) has grainier oak, darker fruits, and more ageing potential. The two single vineyard wines are more concentrated in flavour. The First Paddock 2010 (£55) is quite Burgundian in style (the Pommard clone of the grape is used), gaining its intensity from being the very last grapes picked – in fact, the last picking was on Wednesday, the day before Sam visited. The Last Chance 2010 (£55) comes from the most southerly vineyard in the world, which has wild thyme growing all around it. Just 120 cases are made and only in the very best years. Oakier, dustier, with a long, lasting finish, this is a special Pinot Noir.
We enjoyed Sam’s visit and his wines so much that we invited him back – he’ll be presenting a masterclass on Thursday May 22nd at hangingditch, where he’ll be leading a tasting of all the above wines. Not to be missed! Call us on 0161 832 8222 to book your place. Tickets cost £20 and will sell fast!