Our small vineyard nestles in a very sunny, warm and frost-free (when it matters) bowl between The Shearer’s Cottage and our Périgord black truffière. We planted 300 syrah vines on the slope in front of the cottage about ten years ago, and a year later planted another 900 pinot noir vines to complete the vineyard. It’s a unique little terroir, with black high pH rendzina soils lying over solid limestone (on the slope), and shattered lime and loess elsewhere. At the moment we’re producing about a barrel (22 cases) of pinot noir, and a half barrel or less of syrah, but we’re working with winemaker Theo Coles to increase production and create wines that are an exciting expression of this beautiful little piece of the Waipara Valley, and a great match for our truffles.
Limestone Hills’ Faultline pinot noir gets its name from the fact that a major geological fault runs right through the vineyard. Wine has been produced since 2008, but only the 2009 has been released to the public. The next release will be of the 2012 vintage, in the second half of 2013. The high levels of active calcium in the soil give the wine elegance and structure, and a complex, floral nose.
We’re very excited about the potential for our syrah — called Côtes du Waipara partly as a nod in the direction of the Côtes du Rhone, but also because the vineyard is on a slope high above the Waipara River. Production is currently tiny, but we’re planning to plant more vines, aiming to get a full barrel instead of a few demijohns! Harvested up to a month later than the pinot (the 2009 was picked in snow), the grapes develop great complexity. The wine has all the characteristics of syrah, with black pepper and dark tannins, but also a rich and complex nose that echoes the floral notes of our pinot.