Lime Rock Wines, Central Hawke’s Bay

California Sales Only


Country & RegionNew Zealand, Central Hawke's Bay
ProducerRosie Butler and Rodger Tynan

W hen Lime Rock first approached us with the idea of V59 representing their wines, we politely told them to take a hike. We did French wine, maybe branched out to the Douro, Piedmont, and Oregon, but certainly our focus was European. They were quietly persistent, however, and made the strong case that Lime Rock belonged in a portfolio firmly rooted in the Old World. Why? Because Lime Rock is a family domain, making wine from its own hand-harvested vines (hand-harvesting is rare in New Zealand). Moreover, these were genuine hillside vines—another rarity in New Zealand—situated in cooler sites at 750 to 900-feet above sea level. Perhaps even more importantly, the hills in this part of Central Hawke’s Bay are composed of limestone, and when they told us that less than 1% of New Zealand’s vines grow in limestone, they had our attention. Geologically, the Lime Rock hillsides have more in common with the Paris Basin seabed of Sancerre than they do with the vast majority of New Zealand vineyard soils.


Proprietors Rosie Butler and Rodger Tynan also bring a traditional sensibility to their viticulture and winemaking. Rodger is an ecologist by training and he has dubbed his approach to their vines as “vit-ecology.” What this means, in Rosie’s words, is that they provide homes for the good bugs to eat the bad bugs. Since the 2010 vintage the domain has been certified by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ), which provides ‘best practice’ systems for environmental, social and economic sustainability in both the vineyard and the winery. Rosie’s degrees in enology and viticulture have, thankfully, led to a refreshingly simple approach to cellar work: “We just observe the basic good principles of winemaking.” Pictured below is the harvesting of their Pinot Gris.


Their wines strike a wonderful balance between mouth-filling richness and mineral elegance that is all their own. They are tension-filled, delicious wines, and they speak transparently of their stony place. And they are aptly named. Lime Rock.

The Wines

Pinot Gris
Pinot GrisA dry style of Pinot Gris. with good acid balance. Part barrel-fermented in seasoned French oak, with lees stirring. Soft texture on the palate from stirring of the lees with good length and weight.
Sauvignon BlancSauvignon BlancWine has beautifully balanced acid with long lasting flavors and minerality that puts backbone into the wine.
Pinot Noir
Pinot NoirFine grained tannins. Characteristic classic persistance of flavor that dwells beautifully in the mouth.
Pinot Noir Kota

Pinot NoirAll about freshness, honesty and drinkability. A bright acid line and fine tannins. An almost chalky texture derived from the soils.