Wine of the week and friendship

This wine of the week is dedicated to Nick Dudley Ward, who would have loved a glass or two of this generous velvety red.


2019 Taylors Estate Shiraz RRP $16 to $19.99
Shiraz is like an old friend. Instantly likeable, generous with affection and comforting. This accessibly priced new Aussie Shiraz was matured in American oak for 12 months before fining with minimal filtration, which allows the depth of Shiraz’s strong and chocolatey personality to shine in each sip of this big, bold, plush red wine, which is balanced beautifully by firm smooth tannins and freshness.

Widely available.



A great friend is someone who sees your flaws and loves you all the same, enjoying the rough with the smooth. Nick Dudley Ward was that kind of friend. A guy who could have spent his time with the cool people but instead befriended people on the basis of who they were, not what they were. As one such friend said at Nick’s funeral today, Nick was one of the good guys. He died on Monday after years of decline from motor neurone disease. He leaves behind a loving partner and wife, along with two beautiful children, an older brother and both of his parents.

After studying television production together in Tauranga, Nick found a job for three of us in Dunedin at a small  television station. What a year. The job was crap but the friendships forged that year were rock solid. It was a intensely special time in my life and it cemented the friendship between Nick, Garry and I, all of whom studied in the Bay of Plenty, then moved south together. We drank more beer than wine at the start of that year but by the end of it, I was drinking more wine and Shiraz was never far from our glasses. So it seems apt to drink a toast to friendship and to Nick Ward, who many of us will miss more than words can say.

Loss is one of the hardest things in life, but doubly so when the stakes are so high. Nick was one of the best. I feel privileged to have had such a great friend in my life.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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