Browse our reviews below.



Megumi Nishida,
Winart Magazine,
August 2006

“A Rising Star on New Zealand Limestone – A master of Burgundy variety. Served blind by a regional producer in New Zealand, I thought it was definitely Burgundy, because it was full of mineral tones which I have never before tasted in a New World Chardonnay. I was confident that the Pinot Noir served after this was also Burgundy. I was totally wrong, it was a sample of Bell Hill from North Canterbury…Bell Hill are without a doubt one of the best producers specializing in Burgundy varieties in NZ today. Bell Hill Chardonnay 2004 90 Points “Full of ripe fruit and mineral with well-balanced oak. Well structured body and wild finish. Full flavour of ripe pear, hazelnuts, lime, white flowers, orange peel. Also mineral, which reminds me of wet stones, and oak flavours. Can be drunk now until 2010.” Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2004 93 Points “Concentrated fruit with a silky texture. Clear mineral notes give structure to this floral wine. Rich, lush body with a long finish. Ripe raspberry, dark cherry, leather, liquorice, violet, mineral similar to pencils. Slight earthy flavour. Can be drunk now until 2015.”

Bob Campbell MW,
Black Magic,
Gourmet Traveller Wine,
June/July 2006 #2

Bell Hill “Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen set up their dream vineyard on a bell-shaped hill that was once a limestone quarry. They made their wine under a second label, Weka Pass Road, until it reached their high standards, which it did in 2003. Destined to become one of the country’s most collectable wines. WINE TO TRY: 2003 Bell Hill Pinot Noir, NZ$65.”

Bob Campbell MW,
Best Buy Wines,
Gourmet Traveller Wine,
June/July 2006

2004 Bell Hill Chardonnay, A$100/NZ$60 “This is the best New Zealand chardonnay I have ever tasted, but it’s extremely difficult to buy, and the 2005 vintage was a near wipe-out. Bell Hill is sited in an old limestone quarry about 15 minutes west of Waipara. The wine is equivalent in quality and style to a top Burgundy. It is a powerful drop with incredibly subtle and complex flavours built around a stony/mineral core. Generally, New Zealand chardonnay does not age well. This wine is the exception. Get on the mailing list by writing to”

Stephen Bennett MW,
Imbibe – Pushing Pinot Frontiers,
North & South,
June 2006

…”Leading the “lunatic fringe” are two couples first mentioned in North & South back in June 2003, located neither in Otago nor Marlborough but between the two, in North Canterbury. Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen of Bell Hill Vineyard have pursued the other key ingredients making Burgundy so special, namely limestone soils and close-planted vines. Their tiny one-hectare vineyard sits on an old lime quarry near Waikari where chalk soils promote physiological ripeness at lower sugar levels to produce elegant, textural wines. An ultra-high planting density of 9,000 to 11,000 vines per hectare (five times the New Zealand norm) reduces yield per vine and encourages deep root penetration to capture the site’s character. First releases from 1999 to 2002 were sold under the Old Weka Pass Road label but the 2003 vintage saw the first release of their ultimate-expression Bell Hill label – quite possibly the greatest wine I’ve tasted in New Zealand, and certainly a landmark pinot. The 2004 is due for release this year along with a superb chardonnay. Quantities are minuscule, but prices are entirely reasonable ($60-$65. Anyone serious about top pinot should join the mailing list on

Huon Hooke,
Cellartalk The Sydney Herald,
March 21 2006

‘Not too shabby’ “New Zealand is cool enough to produce really fine, minerally Chablis-style chardonnays – so where are they? Most kiwi chardonnays are heavy and clumsy, with overdone oak and malolactic characters. On a recent trip, however, I found Bell Hill 2004, from a North Canterbury vineyard planted in 1996-99 by Marcel Giesen (of Giesen Wines) and his wife, Sherwyn. Limestone-based soils are rare in NZ but these vines are planted in an old limestone quarry. It’s a delicate, pristine, minerally, pure-fruited chardonnay closer to great white burgundy than just about anything else from New Zealand. It’s the most exciting NZ chardonnay I’ve seen – but it’s also expensive and scarce. You can only buy it in a $1199 mixed dozen: three bottles each of the chardonnay and ’03 Bell Hill Pinot Noir and six of ’03 Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir. The chardonnay thrilled me the most but I also gave both pinots gold medal scores in blind tastings. Try Best Cellars, 9361 3733.”