Joelle Thomson’s Top 12 sparkling wines of 2019

December 18, 2019

It’s the time of year when my job really does go to the next level of toughness. So many bubbles. So little time. How to taste, rate and write about all the good bottles of bubbles on the market, let alone enjoy the occasional glass or three.

This weekend we will pop the cork on a very large bottle of celebratory bubbles because we have finally found a new place to call home – in the wonderful Wairarapa town of Martinborough. It’s not called the silly season for nothing. Did I mention we are not only snowed under with work (like half the world right now) but we also bought and settled a house in less than a week (did I hear the world’s smallest violin playing just for us?). It’s easy to get absorbed into one’s own problems, first world or not,  so, conscious of the bigger issues in the world and of the festive season, here my top 12 bubbles of the year. I hope you enjoy them and the hopeful chance for rest and relaxation over the next few weeks, wherever in the world you are.

Quartz Reef Brut NV - 5 stars

Quartz Reef Brut was the brainchild of winemakers Rudi Bauer and Clothilde Chauvet (daughter of champagne maker Marc Chauvet) who pioneered Central Otago’s best known bubbly, which has now become Bauer’s flagship sparkling wine (he also makes a stunning vintage blanc de blanc and a rosé). This one, like most wines from Otago, is based mostly on Pinot Noir (now 72% of the blend) with the balance being Chardonnay. It’s aged on lees for two years and it’s almost a travesty that it costs so little, given the intense flavours, great body and length. Not that I’m complaining because if I had a house pour wine, this would be it (and, okay, I have to admit, it often is).

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