Regions > New Zealand > Hawke's Bay region

: Biliancia



PO Box 2508, Stortford Lodge, Hastings 4153, Hawke's Bay

Ph: (+64) 6 879 9711

Bilancia label

Bilancia is a rarity in New Zealand - a small winery mostly known for its super-premium Syrah (Shiraz). Bilancia also some good Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Pinot Noir.

Bilancia (be-larn-cha) in Italian means balance, equilibrium and harmony.

Lorraine Leheny and Warren Gibson established Bilancia in 1997 when they returned to New Zealand after some time spent making wine overseas.

Late in 1997 they purchased 6 hectares of land covering the front and back of Roys Hill, west of Hastings on State Highway 50.

In September 1998 the first Syrah vines went in on the uppermost slope of the North facing back of the hill and a gradual progression of terracing and planting continued down the hill until 2002 when the only flat part of the vineyard was planted to Viognier. This vineyard has been named La Collina (col-ee-na), which is Italian for "the hill".

Since 2004 all fruit comes from Hawke's Bay. Syrah and Viognier are from the La Collina Vineyard (and some Syrah is also taken from a Gimblett Road Vineyard).

The other varieties are purchased from quality outside sources; Glencoe Station, south of Maraekakaho and Black Bridge Estate at Haumoana.

Sloping Syrah vines on the top of the hill (La Collina) (photo courtesy: Bilancia)

Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Bilancia La Collina Syrah 2010

Purchased: Not ($A85)

Drink: 2025

(GXY) Tasting: May 2015, this will haveá to last a while as there will be no La Collina from the challenging 2011 and 2012 vintages, complex pot pourri perfume,á deep set and concentrated plumcake, blackberry and boysenberry with cured meat and anise notes, supple and medium-full bodied with slaty firm tannins and very good length (*****)

Bilancia Pinot Gris 2013

Purchased: Not ($A22/$NZ20)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: May 2015, in the usual opulent, spicy style without getting too blowsy and cloying which was the risk in such a warm vintage, waxy pear and limes with tropical fruit, ginger, rose petal and quince notes,á talcy phenolics and well balanced orange/tangerine acidity (****)

Bilancia Chardonnay 2013

Purchased: Not ($A30/$NZ24)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: May 2015, from re-grafted Viognier vines in the la Collina vineyard, wild yeast ferment, no fining,á creamy lime, yellow peach and lemon curd with matchstick and leesy biscuit notes, bright lemony acidity provides the energy and drive, spicy hazelnut oak (****)

Bilancia La Collina Syrah 2009

Purchased: Not ($A90)

Drink: 2023

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2013, small Viognier input, perfumed Northern Rhone style, peppery and supple blackberry pastille and boysenberry áwith savoury meat, anise and complex pot pourri florals notes, medium-full bodied, and tautly structured palate has ironstone minerals with a web of pliant but firm tannins, seamlessly integrated spicy French oak is a bit overt at moment, touch of warmth from the 14.5% alcohol, albeit this would be the norm in an Australian red (*****)

Bilancia Chardonnay 2011

Purchased: Not ($A32)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2013, creamy and leesy limes, kiwifruit,á peach and lemon curd with some matchstick features, good well balanced lemony acid drive to the minerally finish, the spicy hazelnut-vanilla oak is bit overt at moment (****)

Bilancia Pinot Gris 2011

Purchased: Not ($A24)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2013, rich and spicy style with the vines showing pear, lime, and paw paw flavours, oily texture with some pastry aspects along with ginger áand nougat nuances, chalky orange peel-edged acidity, fairly open and gentle powdery phenolics (****)

Bilancia Syrah 2011

Purchased: Not ($A32)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2013, contains 20% la Collina fruit, small Viognier inut, perfumed, smooth and succulent style showing black cherry and blackberry pastille with liquorice, mint, pepper and pot pouri florals, juicy acidity and fine tannins with the 40% new French oak bringing rich dark chocolate-cedar to finish (****1/2)

Bilancia la collina Syrah 2008

Purchased: Not ($A95)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: July 2010, elegant and perfumed Northern Rhone style with a small Viognier input, silky black cherry and blueberry with savoury meat, violet and anise notes, a whisper of herbal lift from the Viognier, medium-full bodied, and tautly structured palate has well judged physiological ripeness and finishes with a web of linear tannins, seamlessly integrated spicy French oak in a support role, the core of fruit lingers on and on and onů(*****)

Bilancia Syrah 2008

Purchased: Not ($A45/$30)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: July 2010, a small Viognier input, core of silky blueberry and black cherry with white pepper and dried herb, medium bodied palate has good line and length, long savoury tannins and spicy French oak, a touch less focussed and expressive than the la collina but is still a very attractive wine (****)

Bilancia Reserve Pinot Gris 2008

Purchased: Not ($A32)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: July 2010, spicy and lush Alsatian-style with the vines heavily cropped to increase the pear, melon and paw paw flavours, oily texture with some savoury lees aspects along with ginger, cinnamon and nougat nuances, underpinned with a long backbone of chalky citric acids (****)

Bilancia la collina White 2008

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: July 2010, an unusual blend of Viognier with some Gewurztraminer, quite perfumed. 100% barrel fermented, small malo potion brings light creaminess to texture, lychee and nectarine with musk, ginger, and cinnamon nuances, savoury lees inputs, much more about interesting textural synergies than primary fruit expression, chassis of mandarin acidity keeps it moving (****)

Bilancia Reserve Pinot Gris 2007

Purchased: Not ($NZ30)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2008, spicy pear and stonefruit flavours, dry and fairly full bodied (14%), slightly oily palate with fennel, honeysuckle and musk sweetness, steely mineral base, good length (****)

Bilancia La Collina Syrah 2005

Purchased: Not ($A95)

Drink: 2017+

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2007, deep, even tarry blackberry with some black cherry and sweet redcurrant nuances, full bodied and fully ripe with black pepper, nutmeg and dried thyme and lavendar complexity, rich savoury oak features are well integrated with the fruit, firm acid backbone and dusty tannins, lingering finish with a hint of liquourice, proof that Kiwis can make good Syrah (****1/2)

Bilancia Reserve Pinot Gris 2006

Purchased: Not ($A29)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2007, spicy pear and apple flavours, although there is some honeyed and musky sweetness the minerally backbone gives the wine a steely, dry character, slightly oily palate, good texture and length (****)

Bilancia Viognier 2006

Purchased: Not ($A29)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2007, lifted and aromatic nose, apricot, stonefruit and pear flavours with musky/vanilla and ginger features, delicate and slightly oily with a subtle touch of oak, touch of sweet lime on finish (***1/2)

Bilancia Pinot Noir 2005

Purchased: Not ($A29)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2007,black cherry and raspberry flavours, light-medium bodied with plenty of complex spice expression including cinnamon and black pepper, some underlying sappiness, touch of French oak, silky tannins (***1/2)