Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Wines of the week for life in lockdown

Life in lockdown moves up a notch this week with more stringent measures to prevent the spread of a resurgence in Covid-19 in New Zealand. So much for our 102 days of virus free country. It seems to have been here all along, as many of us had thought but hoped against. But where there’s a lockdown, there’s an opportunity and I’m using the few extra hours to catch up on tasting wines sent to me for review. Here are three of the best I have had the good fortune to taste this week.


2019 Zephyr Marlborough Pinot Noir $32
This is one of the best 2019 Pinot Noirs I’ve tasted yet, thanks to Ben and Jack Glover, who grew up with wine in Marlborough and began Zephyr Wines as a family project. It has mostly been under the radar until the past two years when the brothers have begun pouring more energy into promoting it. Aromatic wines are their focus, in keeping with Marlborough’s hot days, cool nights and main grape varieties planted there. Their Pinot Noir is made only in good years, such as 2019 when yields were small across the region. This wine is made from grapes grown on two different vineyards, Rawiri (20 year old vines planted east/west on a one hectare hillside site in three different clones, 115, 667 and 777) and The Settlement Vineyard (organically certified, north/south facing, high density, west facing with four different clones including Abel, 5, 667 and 115). This wine is lush, fresh, bright and has gorgeous purity of fruit which shines thanks to low yields, a great vintage and minimum new oak of 15-20%.

2019 Poderi Crisci Waiheke Island Chardonnay $44.99
If you’ve always wondered what great Chardonnay is all about (as opposed to very good and plain old good Chardonnay) then here is a next level wine from Poderi Crisci on Waiheke Island. It’s big on body and flavour with rich and creamy ripe peach, nectarine and zesty citrus flavours, including a fresh, zingy finish. It’s also vegan friendly, if that rocks your world. Most importantly, it lives up to the words great white.

2019 Chevalier Alexis Lichine Chardonnay $12.99
Modern French Chardonnay with a screwcap, varietal labelling and warm creamy flavours balanced by zesty acidity and made with grapes grown in the sunny south of France in the vast Languedoc, which winds its way around the Mediterranean coast from the Pyrenees north of Spain almost all the way to the Italian border, stopping at Provence. Tasty and top value.