BELL HILLThe Weka Pass area was previously unplanted in grapes but they were drawn there by its pure limestone and chalk soils. There is also subsurface glauconitic clay (rich in iron and magnesium) which is found below the layer of lime in the soil at a depth of 1.5 metres or more in existing blocks. The newly established Roadblock and Slope are rich in tight clays that will bring a different influence to the wines. They have been farming biodynamically and without the use of herbicides since winter of 2007 as well as systemic fungicides since the 2007/2008 growing season.
Bell Hill was established in 1997 by Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen on the site of an old limestone quarry in the Weka Pass.
For this pair of experienced wine makers, though they prefer the term wine growers, the pure chalky, limestone soils and calcareous clays set to a the northerly exposure were crying out for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to be planted. As anticipated, the resulting grapes were of an exceptional quality.
Each block and sub plot are individually harvested and once the wines expression can be seen developing during maturation, they are blended to maximise balance, complexity and texture. The unique aromatic footprint of these wines shows savoury, earthy and dried herb notes rather than the bright primary fruit of many new world Pinot Noirs. The supple, firm structure lends itself to aging, and Bell Hill give their wines extra bottle maturation before release. They make just 3 and a half barrels of their beautiful flagship wine and demand regularly outstrips production.