Winery notes (2018 Vintage)
"The Fusilier Vineyard is named in honour of Sam’s father, Major Dermot Neill, a soldier in the Royal Irish Fusilier Regiment for twenty years before returning home to Dunedin, New Zealand, where he ran the family Wine & Spirit business, Neill & Co. Planted entirely in 2000, The Fusilier is 5.6 hectares of pinot noir, on rolling northerly facing terraces at the western end of Felton Rd and bordered by the vineyard of the same name. Soils on the terraces consist of deep alluvial fans, which are made up of varying depths of silt, sand and gravel layering all derived from mountainous raw schist parent material.
Hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard. 65% whole-bunch fermentation in a 3.5 tonne wooden cuve. 5 day cold soak. No commercial yeast added, ferment temperature peaked at 32° – post fermentation transferred to medium and light toast French barriques. 30% new oak and the balance in one- and two-year fill barrels, for 11 months maturation. Light filtration prior to bottling.
Bright bramble red currant violet and wild herb aromatics leads to a spicy warmly textured mouthfeel showing great elegance and depth. Great complexity and drive."
Reviews for previous vintages below…
5 Stars & 97/100 Huon Hooke, The Real Review, January 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"Deep red colour with a good purple tint; the bouquet powerful with lots of stemmy whole-bunch character (they use up to 50% for the single vineyard wines). The palate is very deep and fleshy, strongly constructed, plush-textured and powerful. A very striking pinot noir."
96/100 Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com, December 2018 (2017 Vintage)
"Very complex, complete and convincing Bannockburn pinot that delivers a fascinating array of pure red cherries, sappy and spicy complexity and a beautifully arranged palate that has long, fleshy and silky fruit presence. Exceptional pinot. Drink now."
96/100 Cameron Douglas MS, December 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"A Proprietor’s Reserve wine with a powerful yet reserved bouquet. Aromas of flowers and sweet thyme, raspberry and sweet strawberry, vanilla, toasty oak and a core of pinosity. Complex and alluring overall. On the palate – tense, youthful, dry, fruity and loaded with energy. Fruit flavours reflect the nose with fresh, ripe and tart versions of cherries and raspberries, red apple skins then roses and thyme. No mistaking the impact of tannins, oak and acidity with an abundance of all three, but not to excess – just enough to show the power of the fruit will see this wine through several cellar years to come. Chalky tannins, new and older oak barrel flavours, long finish, young. Decant for service with best drinking from 2021 through 2027+."
5 Stars & 96/100 Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, January 2020 (2017 Vintage)
"This is deeply scented and engaging on the nose showing dark berry, smoked game, truffle, thyme and floral aromas, followed by a superbly concentrated palate that's plush and persistent. It's generous yet elegant and harmonious with multi-layered mouthfeel, finishing impressively long and expansive. From their Bannockburn Vineyard. At tis best: now to 2030. Certified organic."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2016 Vintage)
"The 2016 vintage was estate-grown at Bannockburn, hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in French oak barriques (28 per cent new). Bright ruby, it is an attractively scented, elegant rather than powerful style, very savoury and complex, with fresh acidity and ripe cherry, plum, spice and nut flavours, showing excellent vigour and harmony."