All of our wines are estate grown at Bell Hill and go back to our first four vintages of Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir from 1999 to 2002 before our inaugural Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2003 vintage and Bell Hill Chardonnay 2004 vintage.
The 1999 harvest followed a good, balanced ripening season in a drought year when the heat and use of irrigation helped the vines to become well established. Fifty percent of the crop was dropped pre-veraison and a long ripening period ensued. Cool nights preserving the valuable fruit and acid balance, highlighting spicy berry fruit and ripe raspberries at harvest. Coastal drizzle crept in during the week before picking. This was the first crop from vines in their second leaf.
OLD WEKA PASS ROAD
PINOT NOIR 1999
The grapes come from the Quarry block at Bell Hill Vineyard. They include a clonal mix of 113, 114, 667, 777, and 10/5. The vines were picked on 26 April, giving a combined Brix of 22, pH of 3.5 and TA of 6.5g/L. The total volume for this one acre block was 2.05 tonnes and all the fruit was hand-sorted prior to destemming.
After destemming 45% of the grapes and destemming/crushing the remaining 55%, one barrel of juice was drained off. The grapes were then cold macerated for one week with frequent pumping over and a natural ferment was allowed to develop for several days before a cultured yeast inoculation was added. Traditional French techniques were used including hand plunging and the use of French barriques, 50% of which was new.
The wine was pressed off at dryness directly into barrique with no settling to encourage complexity through lees ageing and underwent malolactic fermentation in winter. It was bottled in June 2000 with no filtration.