Browse our reviews below.
AUGUST 21, 2015
Bell Hill, one of New Zealand’s finest producers...
Bell Hill Chardonnay 2011 Canterbury 13.5% alcohol. Complex nose of ripe pear and peach fruit with a taut citrus edge and some waxy, slightly smoky, spicy notes. There’s amazing tension on the palate with fresh citrus acidity at the core, bold slightly pithy pear and ripe apple fruit, and a warm, rich, spicy mineral finish. Remarkable stuff, fresh, intense and with a long life ahead of it, combining ripe fruit flavours with amazing vitality and tension. 95/100
Bell Hill Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir Canterbury 13.5% alcohol. This, the little sibling of the Bell Hill Pinot Noir, has been made since 1999. It has beautiful aromatics: sweet, floral red cherry fruit with delightful green sappy framing. So perfumed and enticing. The palate is very fresh with a sappy, leafy edge to the sweet, rounded cherry fruit. So enticing and drinkable, with ripeness allied to freshness, and just a hint of undergrowth. 94/100
Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2011 Canterbury 14% alcohol. Lovely concentration and texture here: perfumed black cherry and plum fruit with lovely fresh spiciness. Bright with good acidity and taut mineral spiciness, with some autumnal forest fruit notes and some savoury hints of iodine and earth. Beautiful, fresh and detailed with richness and finesse at the same time. Subtle reductive characters suggest this needs a bit more time, and I think it will be good for mid-term ageing. Fabulous. 96/100
JULY 29, 2015
Hot Wines Bell Hill Chardonnay Canterbury 2011 – 95 Points Elegant, lush and fragrant, with honeysuckle, lemon meringue and dried apricot flavors up front, balanced by touches of honeycomb, sweet cream and toasted hazelnut around the core of stone fruit and citrus. Powerful and elegant, building to a crescendo on the long, succulent finish. Drink now through 2029.
JULY 22, 2015
Bell Hill Pinot Noir Canterbury 2011 - Firm but generous, this offers juicy acidity that leads the way for some intense wild raspberry, cherry and blackberry flavors, revealing anise, dried lavender, clove, toast and wilted rose petal notes in the background. The tannins add an appealing mark of firmness on the long finish. Drink now through 2030. 94 Points
Bell Hill Pinot Noir Canterbury Old Weka Pass Road 2011 –Complex, elegant and powerful, with savory overtones of nutmeg, clary sage, mineral, cigar smoke and forest floor. Flavors of wild strawberry, rhubarb and pomegranate form the core, while a supple, creamy texture and a backbone of tannins firm up on the finish. Drink now through 2030. 93 Points
JULY 10, 2015
NZ’s Old World Charms New Zealand isn’t all Sauvignon Blanc, says Roger Jones, owner of the Harrow at Little Bedwyn – it also has some sublime Chardonnay. “Waikari (in north Canterbury) is home to Bell Hill and its sublime wines. Getting to this place is not easy, but it is certainly worth it. Bell Hill makes its wines on very steep limestone terraces, which gives minerality and amazing flint nuances. The 2011 Bell Hill Chardonnay has the purity of a Meursault, is beautifully structured with clean floral tones and a flinty, bright and zesty acidity to balance the textures. These are very special limited-production wines."
BOB’S CELLAR TALK
JULY 6, 2015
Wine of the Week Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2012 North Canterbury This is a wonderful expression of power delivered with great subtlety. It appears to have been made with a light touch that captures influence of site and vintage. A mix of mineral, subtle floral flavours with cherry and spice. Alcohol/fruit sweetness is perfectly balanced by gentle acidity and delicate tannins. Very impressive Pinot Noir that justifies its cult status. Score: 98, 5 stars
APRIL 16, 2015
Bell Hill Old Weka Pass Pinot Noir 2012 Bell Hill's second label is a little lighter in colour and flavour intensity than the flagship wine, but has an appealing suppleness and a lingering finish suggesting subtle power. Red cherry, fresh herb, mineral and a hint of rhubarb. 92 Points, Ageing: 2015-2020
MAY 5, 2015
Tasting Report: Waipara Valley Pinot Noir
Bell Hill Chardonnay Canterbury 2011 A magnificent grapefruit nose with perfectly wound reduction. It’s very, very concentrated and there’s a gentle spice layer. This has super fresh and chalky fruit not to mention white peach and stone fruits. It’s very composed, almost exotic but still focused on the nose. The palate has bright acid spark and is very fleshy and dense. There’s a phenolic edge too. Ripe lime and pine lime abound amidst great depth, power and seamless drive. Drink now. 96 Points.
Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2011 With a super toasty and spicy nose for a young wine just released, this has a wealth of dark cherry fruit and there’s a sweetly toasted set of spices. It’s almost caramelised on the nose, opening up to more fragrant cherry fruit notes, and has a grilled nutty edge, though wild dark cherry fruits are at the heart of it. The palate has supple and smoothly rendered tannins, which read evenly with gentle grainy texture. It’s very generous and soft at the core while the finish extrudes neatly. A well-finished component is in place. Lithe, tangy and crunchy red cherry finish. 96 Points.
The Best Chardonnays in the World (outside Burgundy) – Outstanding Wines: Bell Hill 2011 – Attractive floral nose and very well-balanced aromas of apple and oak. The fruit is fully ripe but balanced by the acidity, which is perfectly integrated. An impressive wine with a tangy finish. Drink 2015 - 2020.
Bell Hill Chardonnay 2011 96+ Points. This is so good. You could say textbook but it’s got such a higher calibre. Green in colour, insanely fresh, tightly wound but with back-palate mouthwatering acidity and lime-on-slate-minerality that hums to infinity. Delicate, lacy, but with a sense of purpose across the palate. Then, with all that, utterly delicious – beautiful mesh of fine saline qualities, chalkiness, light fruit, touch of flint and ‘that’ floral and mintiness in perfume. Glory be.
Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2011 95+ Points. Bone China aromatics – so fine, so much detail. Spice, earth, fine mahogany notes, just-ripe fruit characters, exotic spice, chalk, wet stone-mineral notes, dried amaro herbs; apologies for the shopping cart. Composed and even across the palate, a fine yacht sailing across a tranquil body of water. It’s deep and dark, but the finely meshed acidity lifts and creates mouthwatering freshness to close. Presence of limestone-like minerality sits as a vein in the wine, fine, slate-like texture gives architecture. Fresh, pristine, formed architectural. Wow.
Bell Hill Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir 2011 93+ Points Superb depth of flavour, sits in glass with a kind of brooding feel, but there’s cherry, sweet fruit, spicy and peppery notes, hit of dried herbs and briar. Great perfume. Crisp, tense tannins, soupy but fresh texture, great depth and presence in palate. Coats the palate in gossamer threads of fruit, finishes with gentle sweetness and freshness. Yes.
LISA PEROTTI-BROWN MW
Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2011: Medium to deep ruby colored, the 2011 Bell Hill Pinot Noir offers a black fruit nose with notes of black cherries, mulberries and blackberries plus nuances of cloves, cinnamon and anise. Medium bodied, the palate is densely packed with black berry and baking spice flavors and highly structured with a refreshing acid backbone and firm, grainy tannins, finishing long with a pleasant herbal lift. 93+ Points
Bell Hill Chardonnay 2011: The 2011 Bell Hill Chardonnay unfolds with wonderfully expressive aromas of ripe apricots, green mango and pink grapefruit plus underlying notes of baking bread, ginger, cashews and crushed stones. The mouth explodes with well delineated stone fruit, exotic spice and subtle nut notes complimented by a beautiful satiny texture and concluding with a long multi-layered finish. Once again, Bell Hill: Wow! Bell Hill Chardonnay 2011 96 Points
Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir 2011: Pale ruby colored, the 2011 Old Weka Pass Pinot Noir presents a warm red cherry and strawberry preserves nose with hints of milk chocolate, baking spices and anise. Medium bodied with delicate red berry and spice characters supported by very fine grained tannins and lively acid, it finishes with good persistence. 90 Points