Tim and Nikki Kerruish are relieved to be home. Their family holiday took an unexpected turn in 2020 when lockdown took place and they have spent the past three and a half years pining for their return to New Zealand and to their vineyard. This year they arrived back to the place they call home. It is Bendigo. One of the windiest, warmest and driest areas in Central Otago's far flung patchwork of vineyard regions. I have been to their off the grid home and it is an inspiring earth construction set in one of the most spectacular landscapes in New Zealand and, perhaps, on Earth.
These are their two newest wines and my reviews of them.
2021 Folding Hill Chardonnay Bendigo RRP $28.99
Chardonnay is the great white hope for Central Otago's winemakers and here is a wine that shows why. Creamy aromas, lemon curd flavours and cool fresh acidity all give this wine more than a passing resemblance to a very good quality Chablis. It is also to the credit of Central Otago and Tim and Nikki Kerruish (owners of Folding Hill) that this wine is so well balanced, given its origins in Bendigo; one of the warmest areas in Central. It was aged for 10 months in French oak, which adds texture and depth.
2022 Ballasalla Central Otago Pinot Noir RRP $28.99
Single vineyard wines typically cost a lot more than this one. Ballasalla has always over delivered and this fresh off the bottling line Pinot from 2022 is another example with its lovely deep ruby hue, bold and balanced tannins, which are smooth and add weight, without dominating the dark fruity flavours of the wine. Bendigo is one of the warmest corners of Central Otago and this wine sings of ripeness as well as balance.
The word Ballasalla comes from the name of a village on the Isle of Mann, to which the Kerruish family has a personal connection and affection.