Current Release

We are pleased to be able to show you our new wines. Our Bell Hill wines benefit from bottle ageing and therefore we release them around three and a half years after the harvest vintage. Time since then has proven their longevity.

 

 

2015 VINTAGE

The 2015 vintage season was cool with frost incidences - water sprinklers were used 4 times and the wind machine ran 9 times, this was further impacted by a shock hail storm in early November damaging young shoots and inflorescences resulting in significantly reduced yield and a lot of canopy work to ensure good growth for replacement canes in winter’s pruning efforts. The first year of drought begins with 50% normal rainfall. The remainder of the season was kind, but diligent sorting was required for even fruit ripeness. A warm Easter weekend and an early start to picking (1st – 12th April).

We made a start with harvest on April 1st with the Shelf and Roadblock Chardonnay and the Shelf Pinot Noir. We picked again on the 7th, a big day with the Westbank, Roadblock and Slope Pinot Noir, then the Limeworks 2009 Chardonnay 1st pick and Quarry Rootlings Pinot Noir on the 8th finishing on the 12th with the Quarry 10/5 Pinot Noir, Limeworks 2009 Chardonnay 2nd pick and the Limeworks 1999 Chardonnay.

Our winemaking philosophy is simple, the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blocks are multi-cloned and are typically harvested, fermented, and put to barrel separately as individual blocks (this season the Westbank and Quarry Rootlings Pinot Noir was combined for volume and the Limeworks 2009 2nd pick and 1999 for the same reason). This allows us to follow the evolution of the wine for a year before making our blending decisions and gives opportunities to evaluate single block potential. The yeasts are natural, coming from the vineyard, we make small natural starters from each parcel after the fruit has been processed into its fermenting vat or pressed into tank. Malolactic fermentation is 100%, also natural. We don’t use fining or clarification agents and filtration is minimal – a coarse filtering for Chardonnay, the same for Pinot Noir from the racking valve down, or not at all. For Chardonnay, our first addition of sulphur is at 12 months when the wine comes out of barrel and into tank. Pinot Noir sees an addition of sulphur to protect the fruit during its cold maceration time and acid adjustments in the fermenter to stabilise pH for long term stability, colour and ageing. The wine is then left alone and sulphured in tank after barrel ageing for 12 months. Small sulphur adjustments are made, if necessary, before bottling.

BELL HILL
PINOT NOIR 2015

The Bell Hill Pinot Noir is a complete barrel selection from the entire vineyard – the Shelf, Quarry (10/5 & Rootlings), Slope, Roadblock, and Westbank. All blocks were 100% destemmed giving a high number of whole berries. The ferments had 21 to 28 days on skins with cold pre-ferment and warm post-ferment macerations. After basket pressing, the wine went into 100% new French oak, it was racked and blended after 12 months and had 6 months in tank before bottling on the 25th of November 2016 with a pH of 3.64, TA of 5.0 g/L, and alcohol of 13.5%. 2,616 bottles were produced.

Hints of lifted spice and dark fruit, a touch of liquorice, briar and spice aromatics with lifted bright red fruit tones. On the palate it shows a deep concentration of fruit, elegance and energy with seamless tannin structures giving long length of flavour. NZ$125


 

BELL HILL
CHARDONNAY 2015

The Bell Hill Chardonnay is a select barrel blend from the Shelf, Limeworks (2009 & 1999 blocks), and Roadblock. The fruit was whole cluster pressed in our tank press followed by 12 months in French oak (one year old) and 7 months in tank. The wine was bottled on the 25th of November 2016 with a pH of 3.31, TA of 6.2 g/L, and alcohol of 13%. 252 bottles were produced.

Warm fruited aromatic hints of grapefruit and lemon at first but with time and air the wine retreats into white florals and greener tones. The palate is, at first, repeating those warm tones, a result of the very low crop, but do wait, along comes the mineral tension and moreish salinity with tactile phenolics and a salivating finish hinting at oyster shells and a tight core. This wine will give with time. NZ$125


OLD WEKA PASS ROAD
PINOT NOIR 2016

The Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir 2016 is a 6-barrel blend from select barrels of the Westbank, Roadblock 2009 and 2008, Slope, our younger parcels of fruit. The handling on skins is the same as for the Bell Hill but the French oak was 66% new. The wine was racked and blended after 12 months in barrel, it had 6 months in tank and was bottled on the 6th of November 2017 with a pH of 3.69, TA of 5.3 g/L, and alcohol of 13%. 1,897 bottles were produced.

Openly fruited with some shyness at first that develops with air, an early release for this wine but you will be rewarded by the delicacy of fruit on the palate giving way to fine-boned tannins with a lovely linear line running through the fruit. NZ$65