Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


A taste of the Rhone from Trinity

Who was it who said that if you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm? It's a bit of a cliche but it has sprung to mind in the North Island of New Zealand this year when  torrential rain gave way to Cyclone Gabrielle, which has destroyed lives, livelihoods, homes and crops so much that many way wonder if there is any silver lining. Cold comfort though it may be, this year's weather events followed hot on the heels of a string of very dry, very warm summers in which some of the best wines have yet been made, particularly from Hawke's Bay.

Two new releases from one of the larger wineries in the Bay this week prove the point. While they may not make up for the devastating losses in the region this year, they are a reminder of the sunshine. 

These two wines both come from Trinity Hill Winery on State Highway 50; a winery that was fortunate enough to be able to harvest grapes this year because it has a substantial number of  vines on the stony Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District. Stones help with drainage, heat and provide extra warmth, in good years. These two new pre-release wines are available for purchase on the Trinity Hill website at

Wines of the week - new pre-vintage releases


2020 Trinity Hills Gimblett Gravels Marsanne Viognier RRP $39.99

Marsanne and Viognier join forces here in a full bodied, dry and deliciously different white with flavours of almond, citrus and moderate acidity from Marsanne, which gives structure to the fleshy apricot flavours of Viognier. The two grapes are often blended together in the Southern Rhone Valley, less commonly in the north and often also added in small proportions to some full bodied northern Rhone red wines. 


2021 Trinity Hills Gimblett Gravels Syrah RRP $39.99

Dark in colour and taste, this Syrah has body to burn with spicy flavours shining through in a  youthful, taut and tannic young wine, which spent 12 to 15 months ageing in large French oak oval barrels (5,400 litres). This ageing process adds depth and complexity to the wine as well as a smooth mouthfeel. It needs time to shine, so the ideal thing is to stash half a case or more of this big beautiful Syrah away for at least five to six years.