Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


What I'm drinking in early December

It's a bittersweet experience writing about wine this month when water is so scarce for so many people on the planet. I had my own close encounter with a lack of water this weekend, due to a leaky pipe, which sounded like a waterfall under the house. Thankfully, all is repaired thanks to the kindness of friends (including a friend who is a plumber). Handy, to say the least. I am more thankful than usual for water and for wine, the best of which have been reds over the past week, including a chillable red, which sounds like an oxymoron, until you try it. Light coloured red wines are made without intense tannin extraction, making them taste balanced when lightly chilled. And as Wairarapa winemaker Jannine Rickards says, we tend to drink most red wines way too warm, most of the time, especially in summer. She bottled a chillable red last month, calling it Kuratea, the Maori word for red. The 2023 Huntress Kuratea by Jannine Rickards was a wine of the week on this website last month, but there is plenty more where that came from. 

Chillable red


2021 Chaffey Bros Not Your Grandma's Chillable Red RRP $24.99

Chaffey Bros is an adventurous duo of Australian winemakers whose winemaking, branding and blends push gentle boundaries of flavour, such as this juicy light bodied red made from red berry tasting Grenache and mocha like Mourvedre. It's a dry wine with aromas of raspberries and ripe cherries, made to drink lightly chilled. Refreshing succulent flavours of fruit snuggle up to a lovely grippy finish, which lingers with every sip. 

Chaffey Bros La Conquista and La Resistance are two European inspired reds, which are made in Australia using traditional Spanish and French grapes. 

Room temperature red


2022 Palliser Estate Pinot Noir Martinborough RRP $59.99

Palliser Estate's 2022 Pinot Noir is a beautiful lighter take on the Martinborough Pinot theme from a challenging vintage and made as a homage to great Pinot Noir. This wine has gorgeous softness and approachability with velvety, savoury texture and taste. I love its savoury richness with its lighter body; both in lovely balance. It may be a style departure from the super concentrated 2021, but this wine drinks beautifully now. 

A keeper


2021 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir RRP $59.99

Pegasus Bay winemakers consistently make powerful Pinot Noir from North Canterbury, expressing the region's dry long autumns in wines of structure, with impressive body and, while this is unmistakably Pinot Noir with its red fruit flavours, it has dense, bold spicy aromas that add tasty complexity and length to every sip. Drinks well now but will be better in six or seven years and then some.