Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


On the hunt for great Pinot

Winemakers are discovering the benefits of less invasive techniques to coax the best out of the grapes they use to make wine. In a growing trend that has been dubbed natural, low fi and non interventionist winemaking, many winemakers are no longer routinely adding sulphur to freshly picked grapes, during stages of winemaking and even, sometimes, at bottling. Commercial yeasts are now often eschewed, in favour of native yeasts in the environment and many wines are now bottled unfined and unfiltered, all of which may sound like business as usual to current generations but even 15 years ago, many of these practices were relatively unusual and often controversial.

Modern winemaking makes it possible to engage in these practices which were once considered risqué and come out with delicious and interesting results.

The latest Huntress wines are from a tricky vintage in the Wairarapa at the southern tip of the North Island and they prove the point. 


2023 Huntress Kuratea Pinot Noir RRP $34

Chilled Pinot Noir is not only a description of the style of wine but also the low tannins in this medium bodied red, which make this wine suitable for drinking at a lower temperature.

This is a vibrant, juicy and deliciously balanced red made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes from the slightly challenging 2023 vintage in which Cyclone Gabrielle made for difficult conditions, despite which, this wine is a great expression of Pinot Noir. It contains 11.5% alcohol as a reflection of harvest dates and winemaking but the wine is entirely dry. It's made from old vine 10/5 (25% whole bunch with gentle pump overs) and new plantings of Abel clone Pinot Noir, all grown at the Stad_Ko Vineyard (the new name for the old Arapai Vineyard). Delicious. 


2023 Huntress Waihonga Amber RRP $40

Amber in name and in appearance, this soft, fleshy and dry amber hued wine is made from 88% Pinot Gris with 12% Riesling which adds noticeable freshness with its zesty hallmark acidity. This brings balance to the ripe quince flavours and complex textural qualities from malolactic fermentation.

“What I wanted to achieve with this wine was something that was satisfying in terms of texture and concentration but not over the top extraction, had flow and hit all the aromatic  points that seduce.”