Bilancia New Releases 2018
It is preposterous that New Zealand’s finest red may not be a pinot; inconceivable that it could eclipse every Euro, Aussie and everywhere-else red… Such are the contradictions of La Collina. Hawke’s Bay syrah with pepper, graphite, coal, flint, iron filings and the textural structure of dreams. TYSON STELZER
If there’s one syrah every fan needs to try it is this from the maestro of Hawkes Bay, Warren Gibson. BEN EDWARDS
I did have some truly exceptional Syrah while I was there, most notably the La Collina bottling by Bilancia. JANCIS ROBINSON MW
Where does the best examples of Syrah outside France hale from? One could put a very strong case forward for Hawkes Bay, and I have many times. I have never been shy in telling anyone who would listen that I thought the potential in this region was almost limitless in terms of potential quality. This may come as a bit of a surprise to a lot of Australian’s who may be used to the riper, more overt and fruity styles we produce (particularly in South Australia) but those more familiar with the cooler climate renditions from regions in Victoria or Canberra statements like that will probably ring true and for anyone who knows and loves the wines of the Northern Rhone then the conditions around Hawkes Bay should get you excited.
Perhaps the greatest estate in the area (They really only have a couple of competitors for the title) is Bilancia. Established by Lorraine Leheny and Warren Gibson (both graduates from Australia’s legendary Roseworthy College), the first release was in 1998 and since then we have seen the quality of these wines continue to improve on a steady and incline. I think they really hit their straps a handful of vintages back and now the differences are more about vintage than overall quality. Perhaps also with recent vintages vine age is coming in to play as each year you see just a touch more stuffing and rocky, soil derived nuance in their wines. Whatever it may be there is no doubt that these wines sit in the top tier of NZ wine and I for one think that their Syrah offerings demonstrate more of the potential of NZ wine than the vast bulk of Pinot heralding from those little islands to our East.
This release of Bilancia is fantastic and it is great to see the international press supporting our views on the wines as well. While the two Syrah tend to garner the most attention their Chardonnay and Gris are super and show a really sophisticated and thoughtful touch and are definitely worth snaffling.
The estate is far from Large and the wines are often gobbles up by restaurants and sommeliers around the country to who know just how great these can be so quantities are limited and we strongly recommend you jump on board now.