Two Paddocks, Picnic Pinot Noir, 2008, New Zealand (SAM NEILL)

To kick off our Celebrity Vintner month, we’re starting off with Sam Neill’s Pinot Noir, which is called Picnic. Sam Neill is best known for his role in Jurassic Park, and in the world of wines, he is known as one of the few celebrity vintners, who actually have a large part to play in the overall wine making process. (GOOD FOR HIM)

Sam and the folks at Two Paddocks chose to call this wine Picnic, because the name is reminiscent of family and good times and they go so far as to mention on the bottle that they “wish you many happy times”.  So, let’s see if this is a Jurassic wine (te he he) or, well… just a critter.

On colour, this Pinot is a light ruby red, with a noticeable slight amber tinge.  On the nose, you’ll pick up a lot of mineral notes, smoked spice and plum, and on the palate a blend of honey, spice with relatively high tannins.  This wine is ready to drink now and at this point comes with a long finish. A word of caution though, I am a big Pinot Noir fan and as a result, I was genuinely looking forward to getting the chance to indulge in ‘Picnic’. Looking at the year of the wine, colour, etc…, I knew that this wine was ready to drink now, and so, I did.  My first smell and sip were more than disappointing, but I tried again 30 minutes later, but still no luck.  I then let the wine air for another hour and then voila; it blossomed into a fantastic, full bodied Pinot Noir with attitude.  Tannins smoothed over nicely and not to mention an enticing bouquet on the nose.  This is definitely the Pinot Noir I’d serve to my friends who claim this wine type to be too soft for them and nothing like the full bodied reds they’ve come to know and love.

In the end, my recommendation is to buy Sam Neill’s Picnic Pinot Noir, and decant it at least one hour before it’s to be consumed. With the right amount of oxidization, it has the potential to be a staple on the Pinot Noir drink list!

This wine retails at the LCBO for $25.95

We gave this wine a 3/5