Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


The Huntress releases her second vintage

The end of lockdown may be looming fast but with the weather taking a chilly turn, the irony is that many of us will be hunkering down rather than venturing out. And what better wine to do it with than the country’s most popular and most important red, Pinot Noir. There are 5,625 hectares of Pinot Noir grown in New Zealand, making it the second most planted grape variety overall and the most planted red. It suits New Zealand’s relatively cool climate well because it is an early ripening red grape. And so without further ado, here are two brand spanking new Pinot Noirs, which were delivered to my front door by hand – and by social distancing with a conversation with the woman who produces the wines.

Wairarapa winemaker Jannine Rickards works at Urlar Estate in Gladstone and also makes her own Huntress wines. This new pair from the 2018 vintage have just been released and are her second vintages of two Pinot Noirs made from some of Martinborough’s oldest vines, including the On Giants Shoulders’ Vineyard, planted in 1986 by the late Jack McCreanor.

The Huntress wines were released for the first time last year by Rickards, who is a hunter as well as a winemaker, hence the name. More information on each wine with my tasting notes and ratings follow below, along with images of the wines whose labels depict native birds, specially designed for Rickard’s wines.
New wines from Martinborough