Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Wines of the week, 15 May 2020 – loving local and beyond

We are all about loving local at Regional Wines & Spirits in Wellington where I work as wine adviser, organising tastings and writing copious product information. And yet, much as we do love local wines, some of our biggest sellers this month have been international wines, thanks to a great vintage in the southern Rhone in France and successful experimentation in the Clare Valley in Australia. Both regions feature as highlights in my top three wines of this week for good reason. Click throughs to buy are featured below too, just in case you’d like to check out the wines for yourself.

The Florita Vineyard deserves special mention because it’s home to some of Australia’s finest Rieslings and, as of, late, a small block of adventurous Assyrtiko from the island of Santorini.

Wines of the week

2014 Seresin Dry Riesling Marlborough $18.99
If you’re feeling the pinch and want an outstanding bargain dry white, here it is. If you’re simply after a great white, here it is. This wine may be seven years old but it still drinks in a beautifully youthful fashion, thanks to Riesling’s naturally fresh acidity, which preserves the wine and adds zesty flavours and great length to every sip. It’s a light bodied wine with depth of flavour and great value for money.

Buy it here.

2016 Guigal Cotes du Rhone $23.99 (or $26-ish, depending where you shop)

I bought a couple more of these last week because it’s just so next level. And, yes, well, I did feature it a few weeks back but since it keeps selling its socks off and tastes so good, here it is again. It is always hard to believe that 4 million bottles of Guigal’s famous Cotes du Rhone are produced every year. It’s a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre, aged for 18 months in large oak foudres in the northern Rhone, in Ampuis.

Buy it here

2017 Jim Barry Clare Valley Assyrtiko $33

Jim Barry’s Clare Valley Assyrtiko (pronounced ‘As-err-teek-oh’) comes from 15 kilometres south of Clare township in the village of Watervale on the Florita Vineyard, best known for fino sherry prior to 1962 and great Riesling ever since. A small block of this elevated vineyard is devoted to the Assyrtiko grape, which originally comes from the volcanic island of Santorini where hot days and cool nights allow it to retain freshness derived from the grape’s naturally high acidity. The result is an outstandingly succulent, refreshing dry white. This wine will take you by surprise, in the best possible way. It was Australia’s first Assyrtiko, made by Peter Barry, who fell for the grape and wine after a trip to Greece.

Buy it here.