Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


What I'm Drinking on 1 January 2024

Happy New Year from my sunny deck in Martinborough where the bubbles are about to be opened with close friends as we reflect on the year that has been and, thankfully, gone. Last week was a microcosm of last year. It was a roller coaster of relaxation, reflection and rest followed by heartbreak, turbulence and 'not agains', but as we edged closer to 2024, the idea of a new year brought hope, both metaphorically and literally. Endings lead to beginnings. And the year that was 2023 was certainly one of many endings. The departure of my beautiful mum  leaves a gap that is hard to comprehend but whose laughter springs to mind every time I pour a wine. Mum loved wine. Not red wine and not particularly rosé but dry white wines, particularly of the aromatic kind, were her favourites. She inspired humour in tricky situations and leaves a gaping hole in our family's life. She was not alone in departing from my world last year. Three days ago a close cousin took her last breath, as did two of my oldest friends. 

In this context, a bunch of bubblies to greet in a new year and bid farewell to 2023 may seem frivolous, but I know Mum would have approved of just such a list.

As the beautiful Latin aphorism goes, carpe diem. 

Seize the day. 

Here are the wines I have seized to share with friends today on Monday 1 January 2024. 

  • My New Year's resolution is to post What I'm Drinking every week on Friday

No 1 Family Estate Rosé RRP $49.99

Dry, full bodied fresh methodé traditional made entirely from Pinot Noir, hence this wine is a blanc de noir (white wine made from red grapes, which were given very limited skin contact to result in a pale colour). It has 7.5 grams of residual sugar per litre and tastes dry with deliciously depths of redcurrant, red cherry and lovely red fruit flavours. 

If great pink bubbly seems like an oxymoron, try this exceptional example from the Le Brun family, owners of No 1 Family Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand - and among the key pioneers of great sparkling wine in this country. 

Hunter's MiruMiru RRP $29.99

Winner of the New Zealand section at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships for the third year in a row in 2023 and deservedly, in my humble view. Always fresh and yeasty with citrusy purity in every sip thanks to being led by Chardonnay, which is supported by savoury depths of flavour from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. MiruMiru is Maori for sparkling and this wine typically spends 18 months on tirage; those tasty decomposing yeast cells that add richness and keep the wine fresh prior to disgorgement. 

  • 2019 Palliser Estate Hua Nui Pinot Noir is also on the list for today, notes to follow. Watch this space.