Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Southern wines with a new look – Three Miners tasting notes

Paul and Kirsten Wright have given their Three Miners wine brand a new lease of life with a makeover that depicts the pioneer men who mined the land for gold in the harsh conditions of the deep south of New Zealand. And this week I tasted their latest trio of new release wines, all made from grapes grown on their vineyard in Earnscleugh Valley, mid way between Alexandra and Clyde. This area is the most eastern, southern, driest and coldest of all Central Otago grape growing areas. Soils are shallow, stony and free draining sandy loam.

The vineyard was established in 2000 by Jeff Price and Julie Mitchell who planted four hectares of Pinot Noir, adding nine more hectares in 2002, then two hectares of Pinot Gris and one hectare each of Riesling and Gewurztraminer. They added a final hectare of Pinot Gris in 2007. There are nine different clones of Pinot Noir planted; 10/5, 5, 6, 7,114, 115, 667, 743, and 777.

Today the vineyard is owned by the Wrights, who have 16.8 hectares and more than 47,000 vines planted with all of the original varieties.

Here are my tasting notes and ratings on their latest wines.


2019 Miner’s Right Pinot Gris Central Otago 13.3% ABV, $28

Pinot Gris is the most popular and widely planted white grape in Central Otago, even if it does still lag a long way behind the most planted red in the region (Pinot Noir). It makes sense too because Gris is generally considered a low acid white variety but it can retain more acidity and therefore freshness, due to the cool ripening season in the deep south. This gives the wine its fresh, clean flavours of ripe lemon and grapefruit, which come through in a dry, crisp, medium bodied Pinot Gris with lots of suave and deliciousness in every mouthful.


2019 Three Miner’s Rocker Box Rosé Central Otago 13.6% ABV, $28

This light pink rosé is in keeping with the majority of rosés made in New Zealand, not only with its pale salmon colour (which suggests light skin contact) but also being made 100% from Pinot Noir, which provides the sweet berry fruit flavours of strawberries and raspberries. It’s an off dry style with a crisp finish.


2017 Three Miners Warden’s Court Pinot Noir 12.5% ABV, $42

Pinot Noir from Earnscleugh and Alexandra tends to taste more savoury in style with earthy aromas and smoky flavours and can be paler in colour than many from the other Otago sub regions, but that’s not to say this wine doesn’t pack a punch. It is light in appearance with fresh fruity flavours and a spicy note. Lively and refreshing red that highlights a different taste spectrum to the Central Otago Pinot theme.

The wines are available to buy directly from