Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


The under dog rises

Wine of the week from Giesen

It may not be the most flattering description but under dog definitely does describe the flagging fortunes of Riesling in New Zealand, which has shrunk from 713 hectares planted nationwide in 2013 to 619 hectares today. It's a continuation of a decline that has slowly trickled downwards as Sauvignon Blanc continues to rise, along with Pinot Gris, but Riesling is still hitting high notes with wine drinkers and in wine competitions. This week's top spot goes to a hugely successful wine, which is the biggest selling Riesling in grocery in this country and since that's the main channel for wine sales, it's relatively safe to say that this is the biggest selling Riesling in the country... 

Wine of the week


2022 Giesen Riesling RRP $14.99 

This fresh new release follows closely in the footsteps of the 2021 Giesen Riesling, one of the top 50 wines in the New World Wine Awards 2022. Both wines are made from a blend of grapes grown in Marlborough and North Canterbury - that stronghold of powerfully lemon scented Rieslings made in a variety of diverse styles from bone dry and concentrated to succulent medium sweeties with length to burn. This is an exceptional wine and even more so, given its incredibly modest price; ahem, or should we just say this is outrageously cheap for the deliciousness that every sip offers. 

The Giesen family has been making Riesling for 34 years in New Zealand, taking their inspiration from spatlese (late harvested grapes with high flavour concentration) styles from their German homeland. 

Residual sugar is not shy in this wine and typically sits around 49 grams per litre, balanced by the naturally high acidity of Riesling. 

It's also worth mentioning here that Giesen produces the only convincing 0% alcohol 'wine' I have yet tried with its 0% Alcohol Riesling - a beverage that was made as a wine then given spinning cone technology to remove the alcohol (it still retains 0.5% alcohol) but which retains a great intensity of flavour, thanks to the greatness of the Riesling grape.