Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Gamay on a roll... First ever Gamay makes wine of the week

How much would you pay to try something that is touted as the next big thing but has also been described as lolly water, tart and inferior?

That something is Gamay, also known as Beaujolais, which is the name of the French region that has been its home since Gamay was thrown out of Burgundy in 1395 by Philip the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy at the time. He may have been onto something because there is no question that Pinot Noir has had a superior reputation ever since, but Gamay is having a bit of a revival internationally, including in New Zealand, where volumes are minuscule but quality is impressive from Hawke's Bay to Central Otago. The best I had tried include Amoise, Dicey, Easthope and Mt Edward, until the release of this new Gamay from Central Otago wine producer, Te Kano. This is my wine of the week and it packs a powerful punch of deliciousness. 

Wine of the week


2022 Te Kano Northburn Gamay RRP $55

This is a great debut, even if precious little of this Te Kano Gamay was made from the 0.33 hectares of Gamay that Te Kano Wines has planted on its Kohaka Block at Northburn in Central Otago.

It's worth getting your hands on some of this soft but fresh, delicate but with depth, layered fruity explosion of taste. Flavours here are of ripe red plums combined with the feel of a velvet pillow; this wine is so soft, smooth and rounded that it's hard to imagine not having a second glass... 

Buy from independent wine stores or directly from Te Kano,

Gamay was first discovered in the 1360s, just a few years after the Black Death devastated at least half of the population of Europe at the time. Gamay is the name of the grape used to make Beaujolais and its name comes from a village south of Beaune, in Burgundy, which is considered the birthplace of the grape. 

Move over Beaujolais Nouveau. Here comes serious red wine made from the lively and lovely Gamay grape.