Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Wine of the week... What makes a wine taste fresh?

Like drinking a lime sorbet with a touch of alcohol cleverly intermingled in, except this is wine, made from grapes and most definitely containing alcohol, despite its deceptively drinkable flavours. 

This is Riesling. And I like it not because it has a hint of sweetness but because of its other polarising attribute - acidity. 

This is what makes wine taste fresh; red or white or rose and sparkling wine, for that matter. The greatest structural asset of freshness in wine is acidity. This could be a controversial point, of course, but it is definitely what makes Riesling tick and what can also make many youthful wines taste sharp, especially when they come from cool climates, such as Central Otago, which is home to the grapes in this fresh off the bottling line bottle of Riesling. 

This is my wine of the week because it wakes up the senses after a long day - and contains a lot less alcohol than a gin and tonic, which can do a similar job, but with so much alcohol and few layers of flavour... that I keep coming back to wines with brightness and acidity to give them a lively nervy edge.

WIne of the week


2022 Te Kano Riesling RRP $32

If you're into soils and stones, this wine will tease the mind as well as the mouth; it's made from two vineyards in very different parts of Otago, namely, Northburn (schist soils) and the Waitaki Valley in North Otago (alluvial stony ground over limestone). It's almost like drinking fresh water from an icy cold river too; even when served at room temperature, which is pretty chilly right now since it is snowing outside. This is a stunning, medium dry Riesling with beautiful vibrant lime zest and ripe candied lemon aromas tempting the mind into another refreshing, lingering sip. A great blend from two areas of Otago that show how well suited Riesling is to this climate and those soils.