Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Spritzy best wine of the month

If you’ve ever stumbled onto this website before, it will come as no surprise to find a mini rave about Riesling, one of my top five wine grapes and wines in the world. I know it’s very fashionable to talk dry and drink sweet, but I’ve always craved dryness in Riesling. It’s the succulence of the acidity that balances great Rieslings that really excites my mind and my mouth when drinking wines such as this outstanding North Canterbury dry white. North Canterbury has a long track record when it comes to long lived, delicious wines made from the Riesling grape, in a variety of styles too – from bone dry to unctuously rich and sweet. The region’s long, relatively dry autumn weather means that grapes can hang out longer than in many other regions, benefiting from the higher sugars and riper flavours they gain during this long-ish growing season in New Zealand’s cool maritime climate.
This new release, made in tiny volumes, simply is the best wine I’ve tasted in the past month. And it’s been one of the toughest months of my life with losing my sister. Without further ado, here is a great white to drink a toast to all those who we love and hold dear. A reminder to appreciate what’s right here, right now. Available in tiny volumes from Black Estate here.


2020 Black Estate Damsteep Riesling $35
Small volume wine sold only at Black Estate’s cellar door in North Canterbury and made from the sloping Damsteep Vineyard, which was planted in 1999 on clay and limestone soils. This two hectare vineyard has since become certified organic. The grapes in this wine were whole bunch pressed, fermented to dryness with a vineyard derived yeast and given extended lees contact in stainless steel with a little in old barrels.
This dry Riesling takes the palate by surprise with its medium body, full flavours and bone dry finish. Balance is both acidity and lees work in barrel and tank. Superb? At least that good.
Certified organic with BioGro NZ and vegan friendly.