Joelle Thomson's online wine guide

Category: Tastings (page 1 of 4)

An unusual tasting in Wellington… discover a great white

The world of… (insert name of white grape here), Tuesday 18 July, 6pm to 8pm, Regional Wines & Spirits, Elice Street, Wellington…

If you had to name a wine that is rare as hen’s teeth these days but was once one of the brightest stars in the New Zealand wine galaxy, what would it be?
It’s white, it originally comes from France and it used to be one of the most planted grapes in Gisborne and the biggest clue: It’s not very well known by name.

It is Chenin Blanc. And it’s the theme of one of our most complex, wide ranging tastings that we have planned this year at Regional Wines & Spirits in Wellington, where I am spending a significant portion of my week, working on tastings, among other aspects of wine.

This tasting will highlight 13 different wines from 3 different countries, 3 different French appellations and will feature bone dry, full bodied wines through to off dry, medium dry and lusciously sweet, kicking off with a fizz made from Chenin Blanc before we travel the world, one glass at a time, from warmer to cooler regions, younger to older and drier to sweeter wines. Here’s the line up.

2016 De Morgenzen, Reserve Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch
2015 Astrolabe, Wrekin Vineyard, Chenin Blanc, Marlborough
2015 Marc Bredif, Vouvray
2014 Baumard, Clos St Yves, Savennieres
2013 Forrest Estate, Chenin Blanc, Marlborough
2012 Astrolabe, Wrekin Vineyard, Chenin Blanc, Marlborough
2007 Forrest Estate, Chenin Blanc, Marlborough
2005 Baumard, Clos St Yves, Savennières
2004 Baumard, Clos St Yves, Savennières
1999 Marc Bredif, Vouvray
2015 Baumard, Carte d’Or, Coteaux du Layon
2010 Baumard, Clos Ste Catherine, Coteaux du Layon

Bookings are essential and this tasting is already filling up as it is limited to 20 people, so please email to confirm your spot and organise payment ($40 per person represents pretty stellar value, in my view, for such an amazing bunch of wines, the majority of which are still available to buy afterwards, should the fancy take you).
Email bookings to:

Wellington the craft taste capital

Wellington is the craft beer capital with a micro brewery on every second corner and, if you live in Aro Valley, upper Willis or the Cuba Street precinct, every single corner. So, why is it so darned difficult to get a decent wine in many of the city’s bars these days?

It’s a question I ponder every time I set foot outside the front door but rather than die wondering, a couple of us decided to host a tasting that highlights the craft wines of our country’s most creative drinks makers. It’s on this week and we still have a couple of spots because we have moved it downstairs to the warehouse for an informal, relaxed and informative night devoted to:

New Wave Kiwi Wines… Albarino, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Libiamo, Syrah and more…
So, join us this Thursday 23 March at Regional Wines from 6pm to 8pm – book by phone 04 385 6952 or online:

It’s the start of vintage for many winemakers around New Zealand so, for those readers who, like me, are mostly desk-bound, check out the new tastings programme at Regional Wines & Spirits –

I am the new (part time) Wine Programme Director there, which means I’m hosting tastings and wine education.

It’s a buzz and it’s fantastic to be a part of, as is writing about vino in all the usual spots, which include Capital magazine, Good magazine, Drinksbiz and NZ Winegrower.

Taste the new wave in Wellington

Wellington is where it’s at if you are a craft beer fanatic, but it’s not a bad place to be this Thursday 23 March, if you’re into wine too, because we are tasting a big ripple of the new wave of Kiwi vino.

The “we” in question is the Regional Wines & Spirits team, which I am working on the tasting programme for.

This tasting is our first warehouse wine tasting and promises to be relaxed, informal and informative; all in the best ways possible.

Wines we will look at – with our eyes and mouths are:

2015 Aronui Albarino from Nelson

2015 Tono Albarino from Hawke’s Bay

2015 Libiamo White Field Blend from Gisborne

2016 Te Whare Ra Toru from Marlborough

2012 Villa Maria Verdelho

2012 Colere Pinot Blanc from Marlborough

2014 Astrolabe Chenin Blanc from Marlborough

2013 Esk Valley Chenin Blanc from Hawke’s Bay

And… the brand spanking new…

2016 Maxim Chenin Blanc from Hawke’s Bay

The two reds are…

2013 Redbarrel Syrah from Hawke’s Bay

2013 Elephant Hill Airavata Syrah from Hawke’s Bay

This is a fantastic line up and the Chenin Blancs taste particularly exciting – nervy, edgy, funky whites have never been so good from this forgotten white grape, which has sadly declined in number over the past decade in New Zealand from about 50 hectares to less than half that today. But the good news is: the Chenin Blanc that is around is the best it’s ever been in quality terms…

So, come along and check out these outstanding wines from a wide range of this country’s top winemakers.

Book to come to the warehouse tasting here…

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