Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Riesling around the world – tasting 23 September (and wine of the week)

After a week of pointless travelling up and down the North Island, it’s easy to lose heart, especially with full lockdown back in place so I’m grateful for the reminder to be grateful and today’s gratitude comes for the sunshine and my favourite white grape variety. Riesling is near to my heart and the theme of a tasting that I am lucky enough to host on Thursday 23 September at 6pm at Regional Wines & Spirits in Wellington.

It’s also the reason for today’s work (‘work’) into researching this great white. So naturally I have turned to the big bible of wine grapes called, appropriately enough, Wine Grapes, written by Master of Wine Jancis Robinson and Julia Harding with grape geneticist Jose Vouillamoz as the third author.

More on Riesling for those who attend the tasting and watch this space.

Wine of the week

2019 Pegasus Bay Estate Riesling RRP $31.99

Riesling is one of the ancient grapes of Germany even if it’s earliest written mention comes from a region that is now part of France, Alsace. The first known mention of Riesling in writing was in Kintzheim, Alsace, in 1348. The region was part of Germany at the time and it is the driest wine region in France. Its weather is uncannily similar to those found in North Canterbury, which is, in my view, the greatest Riesling region in New Zealand.

North Canterbury’s Waipara Valley is home to the grapes that go into Pegasus Bay Estate Riesling, where the vines grow on well drained stony ground on north facing terraces. The vines are over 30 years old and the wine tastes of multi layered flavours in a full, rich body with notes of mandarin and lime concentrate overlaid by flavours that taste like grapefruit juice adding edgy layers of delicious succulence to this incredibly tasty white.

The 2019 is the best of the past three years, in my view, with great balance of everything (12% alcohol and 28 grams residual sugar – not that you’d know it). As always, it has great aging ability of 10 to 15 years. The screwcap seal helps keep this wine fresh and in its best condition. The great Riesling grape also has an almost unparalleled ability to age. Buy more than one bottle, keep some and taste for yourself in a decade’s time.

Great Rieslings can be made in other regions in this country but nowhere has the track record of intensity and longevity that North Canterbury’s winemakers have forged for their Rieslings, to date. Watch this space.


Book for the tasting here

The line up from dry to sweet appears below…

All wines will be available for purchase on the night at discounted prices from their recommended retail price featured here.

2017 Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Saering
RRP $64.99

2014 Jim Barry Florita Riesling RRP $69.99

2019 Mt Edward Central Otago Riesling RRP $24.99   

2018 Donnhoff Trocken Kreuznacher RRP $57.99   

2013 John Forrest Collection Dry Riesling RRP $31.99

2019 Schloss Lieser Wehlener Sonnenuhr GG RRP $93.99  

2017 Pegasus Bay Riesling RRP $31.99

2017 Pearson Estate Mon Cheval Riesling RRP $30.99  

2018 J J Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese RRP $85.99   

2010 Riesling Challenge Waipara Mat Donaldson
This wine is a sample from my personal wine cellar and not available to buy.