Browse our reviews below.



Bob Campbell,
KaiOra Air NZ Magazine,
December 2007

White Magic – Giesen Wines, “Marcel and his wife Sherwyn already own a small but promising winery in the …area of Waikari. Life after Giesen will give him more time to develop a vineyard that has already produced this country’s most exciting chardonnay and among its best examples of pinot noir.”

Matt Skinner,
The Observer Food Monthly,
UK October 2007

20 Great Wines worth their price from 12-320 pounds, Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2005 “Pinot Noir Lovers – if it means walking over hot coals in order to get your hands on this incredible wine – do it!”

Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson,
The Wine Atlas of the World, 6th Edition,

“The east of the region is dominated by alluvial gravels, often covered with thin loess, but some isolated outcrops of limestone, so revered in Burgundy, have been assiduously sought out further west by some of Waipara’s most ambitious growers such as Bell Hill and Pyramid Valley.”

Jordan Mackay, Chow

The Expanding World of Pinot Noir, New Zealand gets in on the Pinot action, 2007 “Martinborough and Waipara make lovely, savory wines with some characteristic earth and spice…In each place there are a handful of top producers, but look specifically …in Waipara…(And just a few minutes outside Waipara in an undesignated region is Bell Hill, which on pure chalk soils is one of the most remarkable vineyards in the country and produces small amounts of excellent Pinot).”

Stephen Tanzer,
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar,
September/October 2007

2004 Bell Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir Old Weka Pass Road Canterbury – ($60US) good bright, moderately saturated red. Aromas of raspberry, underbrush and smoked meat, plus a peppery nuance. Inviting and expressive, with an easy sweetness and a pliant, fairly lush texture, if not quite the depth, richness or minerality of the estate’s flagship bottling (this one is essentially made form the declassified fruit). But there’s still an intriguing smoky minerality on the finish, along with suave tannins. 89

2004 Bell Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir Canterbury – ($100US) deep, bright red. Pungent aromas of dark raspberry, smoked meat and flinty minerality; this is downright Burgundian. Lush, opulent and seamless, but with lovely inner-mouth lift and energy to the framboise, smoke and mineral flavors. A wonderfully smooth, tactile wine that finishes broad and long, with fine-grained tannins and a touch of acidity. This north-facing limestone-rich vineyard is planted at a very dense 10,000 vines per hectare. 91

James Halliday,
Gourmet Traveller Wine,
August/September 2007

National Treasure – Tri Nations Challenge at Tetsuya’s, “…the limited-release 2004 Bell Hill Chardonnay, from a new, as yet not officially recognized, region north of Christchurch, New Zealand…The Bell Hill is a remarkable wine, and it was easy to see why Campbell considers it the best New Zealand Chardonnay he has tasted. The almost 100 per cent chalk soil of the vineyard, close-planted on a steep slope, has produced a wine of rigorous purity and intensity, marked by extreme length and pronounced acidity. If there is to be an argument about the wine, it would turn on the question of acidity – but not from me.”

Jo Burzynska,
The NZ Herald,
Viva Wine,
29 August 2007

Wild bores loose in the vineyard – Wines to beat the bores, Pinnacle Pinot - Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2004 “With a tiny production, high price tags, cult following and Burgundy-like limestone soils, this estate ticks most of the wine snobs’ boxes. More importantly Bell Hill makes wonderfully taut, textural and complex wines like this pinot with its focused acidity, velvety dark fruit and layers of minerals, truffles, earth and cigar box spice.”

National Business Review Magazine,
The Rich List Issue,
August 2007

Put It Away: Wines to grab now and appreciate later, No. 1 - Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2004, Recommended by Kemp Rare Wine Merchants.

Matthew Deller,
August/September 2007

Proudly Local, Matthew Deller lines up his top wines from around the country…Top Pinot Noir – Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2004 “This gorgeous Pinot from Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen’s steep, densely planted limestone vineyard in north Canterbury boasts a fantastic array of forest and red fruits, and is developing lovely truffle complexity. With its fabulous depth, fine tannins and mouth-watering minerality it’s ideal with the ‘Flageolet Beans with Spice Roasted Lamb Rumps’. The red fruit and truffle flavours in this wine match well with the spice roasted lamb, while its silken texture complements the tender beans, which have been described as “the caviar of beans”. Highly commended – Bell Hill Chardonnay 2004.

Lyn Barnes,
NZ Life & Leisure,
July/August 2007

With Bells On, “A movie-set vineyard, a pair of talented vintners and a superlative end result – this winery has everything…The couple has named their vineyard after the gently curving hill on their land, with its lime-derived soil and unique minerals. It’s just 10 years since they bought the 10-hectare property and today they sell their wine in premium outlets around the world. This year alone the embryonic estate has been singled out by the highly respected London-based Financial Times writer Jancis Robinson as “the single most promising producer of Chardonnay in New Zealand. In April, wine writer Joelle Thomson wrote in The New Zealand Herald that Bell Hill produces “arguably New Zealand’s best pinot noir”. Two other Masters of Wine have endorsed such statements in as many months, claiming Bell Hill chardonnay to be the best they’ve ever tasted. And when your wine is in restaurants such as Rockpool and est in Sydney and features on the American restaurant scene, there’s no going back.”

Megumi Nishida,
Winart Number 39,
July 2007

New Zealand Pinot Noir Feature, “When I saw their vineyard for the first time, I couldn’t believe how much they have done to their vineyard. I had a very similar feeling before when I saw Marcel Deiss’s Mambourg…Their vineyard is absolutely different from others in Canterbury and it has extraordinary aura itself.” Bell Hill 2005 Pinot Noir 91 points. “Very clear nose with violet and raspberry flavour. Very dense, you can feel good minerality, well structured. Feels very concentrated at the beginning, but you will find the minerality balances the taste, clean and sophisticated at the end. Very floral.”

Nick Stock,
Gourmet Traveller Wine,
June/July 2007

Spreading the Love – Pinot Noir, “…Marcel Giesen and his partner, Sherwyn Veldhuizen, established their project a decade ago. Their dedication to the incredible chalk soils, commitment to high-density planting and a ruthless, self-critical approach has put them at the top from the beginning. Their 2004 Bell Hill Pinot Noir (A$130/NZ$75) is more scene-stealer than show-stopper, and is emerging as a truly great wine. Initial impressions of reserved, restrained aromas of spice and fragrant red florals are deceptively cryptic. The palate is superbly phrased; there’s an extra dimension that echoes grand cru class. Superb tannin density and balance.”

Chuck Hayward,
Jug Shop Wine and Spirits San Francisco,
Down Under Discoveries,
May 2007

“…While the Weka Pass wines had earned much acclaim, it was the Bell Hill wines that sent wine scribes into fits of apoplexy. On visiting the small winery and its beautiful, immaculate vineyard, you can see, literally why these wines are so special. Each of the small parcels is laden with limestone, a prized soil component that contributes to the greatness of Burgundy…And the finished wines bring you back to Burgundy as well with balanced flavors showing the hints of minerals from these unique soils. These are complex wines on the nose and palate, similar to what one finds in the best premier and grand cru sites of the Cote D’Or. It’s clear that Marcel and Sherwyn’s Bell Hill Vineyard has the potential to be one of the top sites in New Zealand.”

Joelle Thomson,
The NZ Herald,
Viva Wine
April/May 2007

Joelle Thomson’s 10 top New Zealand pinot noirs…”This year is the 10th birthday of Bell Hill, set up by Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen in 1997 in Weka Pass, North Canterbury. The couple make tiny amounts of two different pinot noirs, neither with a price tag that fits comfortable into that for everyday drinking but both very good. This is arguably New Zealand’s best pinot noir.”

Philip Rich,
The Australian Financial Review
30 March 2007

NZ’s Pinot Fest,” …Not far from the Waipara, in north Canterbury, are two of New Zealand’s most exciting pinot projects. Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen have already released a number of wines under their Old Weka Pass Road and Bell Hill labels (in particular the superb 2003 and 2004 Bell Hills). And nearby is Pyramid Valley. The two single vineyard wines, just like those from Bell Hill, should elevate Pyramid Valley into the very top echelon of pinot producers in New Zealand.”

Max Allen Wine Column,
Weekend Australian Magazine,
March 10-11, 2007

“…at the recent Pinot Noir 2007 confenernce in Wellington, the two new wineries that excited me most are both in North Canterbury. Bell Hill Vineyard was established ten years ago…on the slope of an old lime quarry. Limestone-based soils are unusual in New Zealand, but are sought-after as they tend to produce wines with more subtle, savoury characters, and fine acidity. The 2004 Bell Hill is a stunning example, with amazing clarity of fleshy berry fruit, ethereal spice and fine, lingering tannin – although at $120 a bottle, it’s probably the preserve of the pinot-potty.”

Jo Burzynska,
Wine & Spirit January/February 2007,
Boutique Wine: New Zealand

Notes from a Small Island “Some of New Zealand’s most distinctive wines are flowing from the small personal projects of the country’s leading winemakers. For Marcel Giesen, the two acres of vines, Lilliputian winery and bijoux cellar…is essential to achieving the vision that he and his partner, Sherwyn Veldhuizen, share – to produce the absolute expression of wines from their site…the products of this pioneering pair are impressive initial vintages of taut and elegant wines.”

Jancis Robinson,
Food and Drink,
Financial Times
February 17/18 2007

"New Zealand Chardonnay – Sauvignon without the savvy? …On my last visit to New Zealand, the most exciting Chardonnays I tasted, however, were in Waipara… the single most promising producer is Bell Hill, sited on a tiny reclaimed limestone quarry planted with great difficulty by Marcel Giesen of the eponymous family firm and Sherwyn Veldhuizen. Using Burgundy as their model, they have one of New Zealand’s most densely planted, steepest vineyards and – to realize their goal of recreating Burgundy in the Weka Pass district of the South Island – have been prepared to live in the most basic conditions without modern comforts in order to develop this unusual site, blessed with the limestone so crucial to fine burgundy. One of the big brakes on development at Bell Hill has been their determination to try different clones of Chardonnay…”

John Saker,
NZ Herald
February 10/11 2007

"Recommended 2004 Bell Hill Pinot Noir. The quiet power and finesse of this North Canterbury pinot helped make it one of the outstanding wines of the pinot conference’s “NZ 100” tasting. Dark, floral and earthy scents preface a palate that is alive with red and black fruit flavours and balanced, lasting acidity. Go to where you can buy it for $75.”