Browse our reviews below.
The Wine Advocate Tasting History,
Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2009 - Medium-deep ruby-purple colored, the 2009 Pinot Noir offers very intense notes of black cherry compote, wild blueberries and peppered pigeon breast with subtle touches of red roses, tar and anise. The medium-full bodied palate is tight-knit, presenting a very good concentration of muscular black fruits with firm fine-grained tannins, balancing acid and long savory finish. Though tempting to drink now, it should drink best 2012 to 2017+. 93+.
Bell Hill Chardonnay 2009 - The 2009 Chardonnay is youthfully mute as this stage with delicate notes of orange blossom, lightly toasted bread, some oatmeal, under-ripe pineapple and lemon curd. The elegantly weighted palate provides great tension with serious intense citrus and meal flavours and lively acidity. The finish is very long, contributing a suggestion of chalkiness to the layers. Consider drinking it 2013 to 2018+. 93+.
Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2008 - Medium-deep ruby-purple colored, the 2008 Pinot Noir displays notes of game and mocha over warm black cherries, raspberries and mulberries with just a hint of allspice. The palate is led by structure with medium-firm grainy tannins and crisp acidity supporting just enough taut berry and spice flavors, finishing long. It's drinking well now and should continue to cellar to 2016. 91+.
Bell Hill Chardonnay 2008 - The 2008 Chardonnay presents lime juice and lemongrass notes over coriander seed plus touches of meal, peach blossom and yuzu zest. Very crisp and tight on the palate, it gives plenty of citrus fruit flavours and a long minerally finish. Drink it now to 2016+. 91.
Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2007 - Medium-deep, ruby colored, the 2007 Pinot Noir is a little reduced at this stage giving earthy/tarry notes with some game and underbrush. With coaxing the reduction gives way to a black cherry core with a touch of black papper. Medium-full bodied and rich in the mouth, the opulent flesh is well supported with medium-firm finely grained tannins and lively acid, finishing long with lots of savory and warm berry layers. Drink this one now through 2016+. 92.
Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2006 - Deep ruby-garnet in color, the 2006 Pinot Noir presents ripe, evolving kirsch and game aromas with slight whiffs of soy, sandalwood and spice box. Concentrated in the mouth, it has a nice line of refreshing acid, medium-firm tannins and a long spicy finish. Drink it now through 2014+. 91.
Bell Hill Chardonnay 2006 - The 2006 Chardonnay reveals a moderate intensity of toast and straw aromas over a core of preserved lemon and lanolin plus a touch of warm grapefruit. Medium bodied, concentrated and still taut in the mouth, it gives mouth-filling stone fruit and toasted nut flavors and a long finish. Delicious now, it should cellar to 2015+. 92.
NZ Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir Tasting,
2007 Bell Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir Canterbury - Good full red. Cote de Nuits-like nose offers black raspberry, plum, cola, mocha and smoky, flinty minerality. Dense and spicy, with a tight core of fruit framed by soil-driven minerality. Really tactile and energetic wine, finishing with sophisticated tannins and piquant herbal lift. This has the power and balance for a slow and positive evolution in bottle. Rating 91 (+?) points.
Bob Campbell MW,
New Zealand's Top Twenty,
Bell Hill - A tiny vineyard sited on an abandoned chalk quarry in North Canterbury about 15 minutes drive west of Waipara. Owners Marcel Giesen and his wife Sherwyn, who does all the vineyard work, have battled the elements to make small parcels of often fabulous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in most (though not all) vintages. I'm their biggest fan. Their vision in pioneering a new and exciting region, and their tenacity in extracting top results from it, deserve to be recognised.
2006 Bell Hill Chardonnay - A small harvest in 2006 produced an intense and very powerful chardonnay. Vibrant wine with strong chalk/mineral characters interwoven with citrus, nutty lees and spicy French oak. Rating 19 points.
Pinot Noir: The Summit of the Learning Curve,
28 August 2010
Bell Hill in North Canterbury is a third outstanding producer: expressive, mouth-coating yet nervy Pinot with deft vintage differentiation grown on limestone slopes.
28 July 2010
On buying local wine: "When you have a developing wine culture, you have to be willing to pay a few dollars more for a boutique wine, as an investment in the future. And stop saying it should taste like something else. 'Should' is a word that shouldn't be in our vocabulary when you have people trying to make a go where no-one has done it before."
Anthony Dias Blue,
Time for Kiwi Pinot Noir,
The Tasting Panel,
2007 Bell Hill Pinot Noir - Racy, earthy, meaty and minerally; juicy and long; lively and well-balanced. Rating 92 points.
The 2006 Bell Hill Pinot Noir (grown in a former North Canterbury lime quarry) had an enticingly unshowy aroma which balanced berry fruits and spring-warmed earth; the flavours were soft, fleshy and mouthcoating, pushing on through an increasingly energetic middle palate to a discreetly spicy finish. It's a finely crafted Pinot of great classicism.
27 March 2010
Very much out of the New Zealand norm with the owners' precious limestone blaring through this extremely refined fruit. Lovely stuff - so intense and contained. Super mineral. No hurry to drink; very slowly unfolding. More subtle than its Pinot Noir stablemate. Positively chewy and attractively dry and complex. The sort of wine one aches to put into a blind tasting... Good positive finish. Just one hectare of vines alas though.
Jancis Robinson Twitter Page,
27 March 2010
Just added notes on Bell Hill of Canterbury's 2006's to my Purple Pages. Chardonnay is near miraculous. One hectare only of 13 year old vines.
Up for a Challenge,
21 March 2010
2007 Bell Hill Pinot Noir - This is another exercise in miniaturism, from an ultra close planted two hectare vineyard set up by Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen in 1997 in a hitherto untried region in North Canterbury. The colour is deep, the fragrantly spicy dark cherry and plum fruit perfectly poised and balanced; like a great Burgundy, it has absorbed the 100% new French oak in which it was matured. 1200 bottles produced; available (in obviously limited quantities) through Whole Bunch Wines, East Sydney. Rating 96 points.
Nick Bulleid MW,
Gourmet Traveller Wine,
The Bell Hill wines show increasing richness and palate balance from the 2004 Bell Hill Pinot Noir through to 2006 Bell Hill Pinot Noir, with the last an excellent plump wine with beautiful red and dark berry flavours, fine tannins and length. I thought the chardonnays the standout wines, however, and in their different ways. The 2006 Bell Hill Chardonnay is the richer wine, with intense ripe-apple and cashew flavours. It shows great power in a fine palate and excellent length - an outstanding wine. The 2004 Bell Hill Chardonnay has the same depth of flavour, yet is altogether finer and more subtle, with hints of lemon and cashew, and still remarkably fresh. It's the more impressive of the two, for its combination of intensity and delicacy, although I was still seduced by the ricer '06. This is a brave and costly venture for Giesen and Veldhuizen, but the exceptional quality of the chardonnays in particular shows they are already succeeding.
Gourmet Traveller Wine,
Limestone is also the raison d'etre of Bell Hill, and the first time I tasted the 2004 Bell Hill Chardonnay about four years ago, I was riveted by its restrained power, its delicacy and finesse, its precise minerally fruit and taut length. For years I had wondered why New Zealand never produced a good Chablis style, and this was exactly what I'd been searching for. The 2006 Bell Hill Chardonnay is also superb in a richer, less restrained way. The first, 'experimental' vintage of chardonnay was 2002. Seeing the steep, terraced slope for the first time, with individually staked vines reminiscent of the Mosel Valley, it's tempting to observe that extraordinary sites yield extraordinary wines.
Clear About Wine,
2007 Bell Hill Pinot Noir - Legendary among New Zealand's most exclusive Pinot Noir producers, the wines of Bell Hill are as ethereal as they are rare. Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen are driven by a passion to encapsulate the unique terroir of their North Canterbury site (just above Christchurch). With vines reaching ten years of age in 2007, they are beginning to demonstrate what they are capable of producing. This is a deep, brooding wine with black pepper and exotic spice notes over black plum and bramble flavours. A fine, grippy tannin structure will benefit from time in the cellar to soften. Rating 95 points.