Located in Upper Wairau Valley, a remote corner in one of the most remote wine regions in the world, Hillersden is an interesting winery that is as much about Kiwi ingenuity as it is of wine.
The wine is an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc. Nose of guava and pineapple with an understated note of fine herb. The palate is texturally richer than most New Zealanders, with soft pear flavors that are kept in line with a POW of fresh acidity in the finish. Fresh grass and hazelnuts on the finish.
The interesting thing about this winery is that it rose from the ashes. In 2016, they brought on a new winemaker, Adam Kubrock, from Washingon States’ Walla Walla Valley. They also dumped their American importers and distributors and took those jobs on themselves, a risky move for any winery.
All that is very interesting, since Hillersden’s owner Bruce Forlong didn’t have a fortuitous start in the trade. Only a few years before, he was the main investor in Kakara Estate Limited and found himself in the middle of a nasty vineyard dispute that ended up in the Supreme Court of New Zealand (PDF).
Glad to see they have the grit to keep making wine. Cheers, gents!