Part 15: Bilancia
While I was at Trinity Hill, winemaker Warren Gibson (right)
showed me his own wines, Bilancia. He also very hospitably invited
me round to his home for tea, where I met the other partner in
Bilancia, Warren’s wife Lorraine Leheny, who is also a
When you are travelling wine country on your own, it
can be a slightly lonely existence, even if you are meeting people
all the time. The chance to have a meal in someone’s home is a
welcome treat, even if some people are a little taken back when
their partner brings an unexpected guest back for dinner!
Warren and Lorraine began this boutique operation in
1997, releasing the first wine in 1998.
There’s Italian influence: Bilancia is the Italian name
for the Libra zodiac sign, which is shared by Warren and Lorraine
– and it also means ‘balance’ or ‘harmony’, something
they strive for in their wines.
Most of the grapes for the wine come from a terraced
hillside vineyard ‘La Collina’; other grapes come from the
gravels and a couple of other vineyard sources. The wines are
really impressive: this is an astonishingly high quality range
that’s up there with the best from Hawkes Bay.
Bilancia Pinot Grigio 2006 Hawkes Bay
Ripe and aromatic with a herby nose. The palate is nicely
complex with notes of pear and spice, a smooth texture and good
complexity. There’s lots of interest here. 91/100
Bilancia Reserve Pinot Grigio 2006 Hawkes Bay
Really aromatic and rich on the nose: sweet, grapey, warm and
complex. The palate is rich, smooth and grapey with fat texture
and notes of honey and spice. Dry-ish, this is a lovely bold
complex wine. 92/100
Bilancia Viognier 2006 Hawkes Bay
Quite deep yellow with green hints. The nose is grapey,
melony, intense and peachy. Broad and full. The palate is powerful
and boldly flavoured with complex herb and melon notes. Fat, broad
fruit here with lovely grapeskin character. Bold and delicious.
Bilancia Syrah Viognier 2006 Hawkes Bay
Pure, fresh, dark nose is focused and tight wound. Dark,
meaty, spicy and peppery. The palate has focus and depth with
nicely judged oak supporting the peppery, spicy fruit. Fantastic.
Bilancia ‘La Collina’ Syrah 2005 Hawkes Bay
Beautifully dark, focused nose with spice, black pepper and
floral notes. Aromatic and vivid. The palate is very fresh and
full with good concentration and purity of fruit. Savoury and
vivid, this is dense, focused and dark. 94/100
Wines tasted 11/07
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