Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Wine of the week… big wine from a small region

Another day, another case of Covid-19 and more frightening reports from around the world, all of which makes a liquid like wine seem ever so slightly trivial. Or does it. I’ve been enjoying the trickle of 2019 Pinot Noirs pouring slowly onto the market right now from wineries in a range of regions, including the one that I live in – Martinborough, that quaint little farming-turned-wine village over the hill from Wellington.

This week’s top wine is one that I’ve tasted twice in the past month. This week was the second time and it was surprising because it’s already more comfortable in its own skin than it seemed, to me, the first time I tasted it. Here, without further ado, is the brand new 2019 Palliser Estate Pinot Noir.

Wine of the week… 


2019 Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir $49

Organic growing ideas are slowly and steadily taking over the vineyards owned by Palliser Estate, one of Martinborough’s longest established wineries, which now has 22% of its vineyards under organic conversion. The aim is to be 100% by 2025. Winemaker Guy McMaster began at Palliser by tending the vines so he has been strongly involved in many aspects of production, including the winemaking.

All grapes in this wine were hand picked with 60% from the Pencarrow Vineyard and the balance from the Waka and the winery vineyards. Fruit was cold soaked and fermented with 18% whole clusters, all indigenous yeasts and aged in French oak for 10 months.

The wine is commanding from the first sip, full and rich in flavour with medium body and that crisp refreshing bright acidity adding a zingy taste to every sip and great length.

This is a Pinot to savour now and to age for up to a decade. Or longer, if willpower allows.

One of the best yet from Palliser.