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2017 Bell Hill Chardonnay

  • Producer
    Bell Hill
  • Vintage
  • Grape Variety
  • Region
    New Zealand
  • Sub Region
    North Canterbury
  • Types
  • Size

Bell Hill Vineyard was established by Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen and is situated at an old lime quarry in the Weka Pass, North Canterbury. This is a unique site with limestone derived soils and north facing hillside exposures. From 1997 through to 2009 they planted two hectares at high density with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Bell Hill uses the Burgundian model of vineyard architecture with a high plant density of 9,259 to 12,500 vines/ha. All plantings since 2005 are at 11,363 vines/ha or 1.1m row spacing by 0.8m vine spacing. The intention of this is to reduce yield per vine and encourage deep root penetration of the soil profile, it’s flavour and its elements. They seek to reflect the characteristic expression of their site and soil in the wines they make, looking for consistent quality, fruit concentration and expression of terroir. The management of the vineyard is very detailed and they consider their high level of manual labour as being very influential in achieving site potential.

The Weka Pass area was previously unplanted in grapes and they were drawn to the pure chalky limestone soils and calcareous clays. The subsurface glauconitic clay (rich in iron and magnesium) is found below the layers of lime in the soil from a minimum depth of 1.5 metres. The Roadblock and Slope are rich in dense, calcareous clays bringing another influence to their wines. They have been farming organically and bio dynamically since the 2007/2008 growing season and see this as paramount to increased soil and vine health as well as fruit quality and expression. Their Bio-Gro Organic Certification came through on 1 March 2015.

Tasting Notes

96 Points Cameron Douglas MS
Elegant, complex and alluring bouquet. Aromas of ripe white fleshed fruits layered between scents of oak, raw cashew nut and minerality offering a sense of place and time. On the palate – equally complex, fruity and dry with flavours that mirror the nose, layers of mineral and spice from site and use of barrel, a nut and gentle wood smoke layer, plenty of acidity and fine wood tannins that enhance a limestone-like foundation. Beautifully made, balanced and ageing well. A wine for the cellar still, but also okay to indulge over a few days.

The Envied Cellar
The Envied Cellar
The Envied Cellar