Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Who is Winelord?

If the name Winelord doesn’t ring any familiar bells, you are in good company because it is a relatively new addition to the Nelson wine scene, which happens to own some brands that may be familiar to wine drinkers. Last year, Winelord bought the small winery, Kaimira Estate, adding it to the other brands in its stable; Middle Earth Wines, Brightwater gravels and Capital Cider. The company is owned by the Grey family, which first began planting grapes in the Brightwater area of Nelson in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Today, it produces wines made from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and also from lesser known wine grape varieties such as Pinot Meunier, Albarino, Viognier and Petit Verdot. All are bottled as single varietal wines rather than blends and this week I had the chance to taste their newest wines, including two fresh new rosés from this year’s vintage, 2020, a year that will go down in history as one of the trickiest for harvesting grapes, but a stellar one for wine quality, as the steady stream of 2020 wines pouring onto the market show.

Here are my reviews of Winelord’s latest new wines and ciders.

2020 Brightwater Gravels Rose Nelson, 12% ABV
This evocatively named wine brand is part of a family owned business in Nelson, owned by the Grey family with winemaking by Trudy Sheild, who made this rose in an off dry style with refreshing flavours of raspberries, melon and strawberries, all combined in a light bodied, intensely flavoursome new pink wine from Nelson. It’s one of the first 2020 wines to be released and also ticks the vegan friendly box.

2020 Middle-Earth Pinot Meunier Rose Nelson 11.5% ABV
Pinot Meunier is a red grape, best known for its role as one of the three key ingredients in Champagne and is rarely seen in New Zealand. It’s used here to make a light salmon coloured pink wine in an off dry style with winemaker Trudy Sheild accentuating fruity flavours of red berries and fresh red apple notes by retaining a little residual grape sugar to lift the aromas in this fresh, lively pink wine, which drinks well now, lightly chilled.

Capital Cider Co Winning 5.8% ABV, 2 standard drinks, 440ml can
Freshly juiced apples go into this Nelson cider, which is made with flavourings of kaffir lime, lemon and juniper and without added sugar or water. That’s no mean feat for this high quality cider, which tastes dry with a sweet citrusy mid palate and the zesty intensity of lime on the finish, which lingers deliciously. This is one of the best ciders I have tasted in the past decade and all the better for it, knowing that apples form the basis for this delicious drink. Two standard drinks in one can is significant and could potentially serve young drinkers better, if it was packaged in smaller single serve cans. That said, this is an high quality cider delivering excellence in flavour and in the retro but modern packaging style. It is carbonated and canned at Winelord in Nelson.

Capital Cider Co Love & Money 5.6% ABV, 1.9 standard drinks, 440ml can
This deep pink cider is made from tasty apples grown in Nelson. It’s a dry style balanced by the sweetness of mixed berry flavours in the mid palate, which is round and soft. This is a very good quality cider with a light body and super fresh flavours; a great day time drink year round, especially in summer. The cider is carbonated and canned at Winelord in Nelson.