See Decanter experts' rating, tasting notes and drinking window for Bell Hill, Canterbury, New Zealand 2011.

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Bell Hill, Canterbury, New Zealand 2011

Bell Hill, Canterbury, New Zealand 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.
Price: £75 Armit
Drink: 2015-2020
Alc: 13.5%

Bell Hill’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs enjoy a cult following in New Zealand, and by that country’s standards they are expensive wines. The 2ha of vineyards were planted in the late 1990s at a former limestone quarry near Canterbury. Marcel Giesen and his wife Sherwyn are the owners. Giesen is one of the three brothers that run their eponymous winery in Christchurch, having emigrated from their native Germany in the 1980s. They undertook an extensive and detailed soil analysis to get to grips with the terroirs of each parcel. The vines are atypical of the country’s norms by being planted at a density of between 9,000 and 12,500 vines per hectare. The Chardonnay is aged in barrels and then in tanks, and undergoes malolactic fermentation; the use of new oak is minimal. It’s a very concentrated, mineral wine, with a light phenolic edge. But production is tiny, often under 1,000 bottles, and this scarcity also contributes to the cult status of the Bell Hill wines.