Under $30 Best Buy – 2023
If you're a wine enthusiast on a budget, then you'll be excited to hear the following are some of the best affordable wines in New Zealand, all under $30. As someone who has tasted over 1,000 wines a year, I can tell you that there is no shortage of exceptional wines in this beautiful country. The country's cool climate and unique terroir provide the perfect conditions for producing high-quality, flavorful wines that won't break the bank.
While many people are familiar with the bigger producers, I believe that it's important to shine a light on the smaller, lesser-known producers who are also creating fantastic wines. I'm excited to bring you some of the best "Under $30 Best Buy" wines from New Zealand, including some hidden gems from these smaller wineries as well as the bigger producers.
I have split the wines into 5 groups. Get ready to discover new favourites and support our local producers. Cheers to great wine at great value!
Pisa Range Estate Riesling 2015, Central Otago - This is a current release at 8 years of age, aged to perfection. Layered with complexities over citrus, minerals and a savoury palate. https://pisarangeestate.co.nz/
Pegasus Bay Riesling 2020, North Canterbury - Pegasus Bay is one of New Zealand's favourite Riesling producers. Botrytis-affected grapes are usually in the blend, adding richness and complexity. https://www.pegasusbay.com/
Terrace Edge Liquid Geography Riesling 2022, North Canterbury - Another excellent producer from North Canterbury, founded in 1999 by the Chapman family. It's a medium-dry style with weight and richness, excellent acidity balancing sweetness and provides vitality to this young wine. https://terraceedge.co.nz/
Outside The Box Wines Rosé 3-Way 2021, Marlborough - This one is a bit of a mind tease. 3 ways of winemaking techniques contribute to the uniqueness of this wine. Pinot Noir Rosé with a splash of Gewurztraminer, it's mouth-filling, interesting and well-made. https://outsidetheboxwines.co.nz/
Forrest Chenin Blanc 2022, Marlborough - Marlborough has more than Sauvignon Blanc to offer! This Chenin Blanc was planted by John Forrest in 1988 after Beth Forrest went to the Loire Valley and fell in love with Chenin Blanc. It's textural, unctuous on the palate with minerals, stonefruit, apple and ginger deliciousness. https://www.forrest.co.nz/
Maison Noire Teroldego Port 2021, Hawke's Bay - Teroldego is a native variety in the Northern Italy, Trentino area. Related to Syrah and Pinot Noir. This dark-skinned variety is packed with black fruit, herb, spice and refreshing acidity. Very moreish without cloying sweetness. https://maisonnoire.nz/
And Relax by Unison Vineyard Red Wine 2022, Hawke's Bay - This is the first release of this wine, made from Syrah grown in the Gimbett Gravels, designed to be served slightly chilled. Why chill it down? The cooler temperature will emphasize the fruit notes and give the soft supple tannin more structure. In other words, it's tastier. https://www.unisonvineyard.co.nz/
Trinity Hill Syrah 2021, Hawke's Bay - Trinity Hill white label is consistently an over-achiever. Fruit was sourced from vineyards in the Gimbett Gravels, fermented in stainless steel to retain the freshness of the fruit, and in older small and large old barrels to build complexity. It's an attractive and approachable wine. https://trinityhill.com/
Ruru Pinot Noir 2021, Central Otago - Ruru is a producer in Alexandra, Central Otago. A sub-region that has the most extreme temperature change in the country. They produce Pinot Noir with elegant Pinot Noir with concentrated fruit, floral and delicate tannins. https://ruruwines.co.nz/
[Winter Wine, That's not Red]
Main Divide Gewurztraminer 2022, North Canterbury - Gewurztraminer was once well-loved with a promising future but is now deemed out of fashion with only 18 hectares planted in North Canterbury and 197 hectares total in New Zealand. But just one sip would be enough to remind you why you should Gewurztraminer! The lush tropical fruit rose water and a hint of sweetness are the perfect match for some spicy Asian fare. And this wine was fermented in oaked barrels, showing extra depth and complexity. https://www.pegasusbay.com/
Three Miners Miner's Right Pinot Gris 2022, Central Otago - Three Miners is situated in Earnscleugh Valley halfway between Alexandra and Clyde. Named after the gold miners who came to Central Otago in the 1960' for the gold rush. This is a dry style of Pinot Gris with pear and quince aromas along with spice and honeysuckle and a refreshing finish. https://threeminers.com/
Church Bay Reserve Rosé 2022, Waiheke Island - A Waiheke Island Rosé made from a blend of Merlot, Malbec and Syrah. The juicy ref fruit from is accompanied by a slightly meaty and savoury palate. Excellent weight perfect for a cooler winter night. https://churchbayestatewines.com/
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay 2021, Marlborough - The fruit is sourced from Central Wairau, wild fermented and aged in barriques. It's well-structured with a stonefruit and citrus core and nutty oak influence. https://www.lakechalice.com/
Maison Noire Fraicheur Chardonnay 2021, Hawke’s Bay - The zesty Hawke's Bay Chardonnay is handpicked from a single vineyard in the Puketapu area by the Tutaekuri River, fermented in stainless steel and seasoned barrels. It's packed with lemon, grapefruit and mandarin aromas, and a touch of almond and honey. It's vibrant, zesty, full of good energy. https://maisonnoire.nz/
Hunter's MiruMiru NV, Marlborough - Hunter's is a member of Methode Marlborough, they produce sparkling wine in traditional method, using Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This has aromas of apple, yellow stonefruit and citrus preserves with a baguette crust, yeasty complexity. It's elegant with a well-balanced and creamy palate. https://hunters.co.nz/
In conclusion, New Zealand offers an abundance of excellent wines Under $30. From classic varietals like Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir to unique and interesting wines from lesser-known regions and varietals, there's something for every wine lover to enjoy.
By seeking out smaller producers and lesser-known wines, you can discover new favourites while supporting the local wine industry. And with the right food pairings, you can enhance your wine-drinking experience and truly savour the flavours of New Zealand.
Read full reviews and food pairing suggestions in expansions below.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Pisa Range Estate Riesling 2015, Central OtagoRiesling from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 05-Jul-2022Bright, medium yellow with a light green hue, even colour throughout. The nose is gently full, with aromas of lime, mandarin and citrus peel melded with dried floral, honey and a hint of savoury elements. Medium-bodied, dry to taste, a core of citrus fruit, lime, mandarin and peel extended by honey, dried floral, ginger and cereal; crunchy minerals draw a long line with acid tension to a savoury, crisp finish. The wine shows savoury development and complexity, supported by taut acid tension and core flow on an unctuous, chalky textured mouthfeel. This is a complex, textural, dry Riesling with a citrus, mineral core; savoury, spice development and a long chalky finish. Match with baked scallops and pancetta over the next 5 years. 100% Estate grown fruit, fermented to 12.5% alc, 2 g/l RS. 19/20 pts (95 pts) July 2022 RRP $28
Pegasus Bay Riesling 2020, North CanterburyRiesling from New Zealand - Canterbury & WaiparaReview Date : 16-Dec-2022Bright, even, pale yellow-gold with some depth. This has a complex, powerful, savoury bouquet with tropical fruit and mandarin aromas, entwined with beeswax, ginger, cardamom, honeysuckle and blossom. Full-bodied, medium-dry to taste, aromas of guava and pineapple interweaved with lemon, mandarin, ginger, honeysuckle and beeswax. The wine is complex with a rich mouthfeel, waxy and textural. Fresh acidity cut through the richness and sweetness, bringing tension and drive to a lengthy, spiced finish. This complex, heavy-weight Riesling is packed with flavours, concentration and a long, balanced drive. Match with chicken liver and pork rillette over the next 15 years. Fermented with a portion of botrytized grapes at cool temperatures to 13% alc, 26.5 g/l RS. 19/20 pts (95 pts) Dec 2022 RRP $30
Terrace Edge Liquid Geography Riesling 2022, North CanterburyRiesling from New Zealand - Canterbury & WaiparaReview Date : 13-Mar-2023Bright, even, pale yellow. Fine effervescent linger on the side of the glass. The nose is softly full and open, with aromas of ripe stonefruit, citrus, white floral, honey and a hint of white spice. Medium-full bodied, medium-dry to taste, aromas of ripe nectarine, apricot intertwined with lemon and honey, unfolding white lily and ginger on the finish. The sweetness broadens the mouthfeel and grows in richness. The wine is crisp with excellent acidity, balancing sweetness and lingering to a refreshing, moreish finish. This complex, well-balanced Riesling packed with interest will evolve with more complexity over the next 10+ years. Match with chicken liver parfait and spicy chicken katsu. Late harvested, 12.5% alc. BioGro organic certified. 19/20 pts (95 pts) Mar 2023 RRP $24
Outside The Box Wines Rosé 3-Way 2021, MarlboroughRosé from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 15-Mar-2023Bright, even, light burnt orange with some depth. The nose is fresh and complex, with a whiff of floral, rose water, cherry, raspberry, spice, tropical fruit and creamy details. Medium-full bodied, soft and round on the entry, followed by raspberry, cherry and rambutan, unfolding roses, floral, ginger and pepper. The acidity is softly vibrant with a zing, carrying spice on creamy flow. An abundance of fruit and freshness evolve into a round and creamy palate. This Rosé is complex and contradicting with interest and wonder, overall, mouth-filling, interesting and well-made. Match with pork rillette and salmon over the next 2-3 years. Fermented 3-ways, part Pinot Noir co-fermented cool with a splash of Gewurztraminer, part Pinot Noir fermented in oak, lee stirred, underwent MLF and part Pinot Noir Carbonic macerated. 12.5% alc. 18.5-/20 pts (92 pts) Mar 2023 RRP $30
Forrest Chenin Blanc 2022, MarlboroughChenin Blanc from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 09-Sep-2022Bright, even, very pale yellow with a green hue. This has a gently full bouquet, aromas of wet wool on the entry, followed by stonefruit, apple, citrus and spice. Medium-bodied, dry to taste, aromas of apple and pear intermixed apricot and lemon, a hint of ginger and minerals. The mouthfeel is slightly unctuous with a creamy underlay, flows with stony minerals and a vibrant acid line. This is a textural Chenin Blanc with a wide range of fruit expression, excellent acidity and an unctuous mouthfeel. Match with pork cheek croquette and cheese crumbed fish over the next 5 years. Fruit from home block in Renwick, machine harvested, cold settled and racked into 1000L oak cuvees for fermentation, 12% alc, 7.5 g/l RS. 18.5/20 pts (93 pts) Sep 2022 RRP $28
Maison Noire Teroldego Port 2021, Hawke’s BayFortified Style from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 19-Oct-2022Full, deep purple, faintly lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and attractive, with penetrating aromas of plum, prune and blackberry melded with herbs and spice. Medium-bodied, aromas of plum and blackberry interweave oregano, sweet basil and peppercorns. The fruit is fresh with lovely concentration; excellent balance of acidity flows effortlessly without cloying sweetness. Ripe, tight-grained tannin added texture. This Teroldego Port is appealing and fresh with dark fruit, herb and spice details. Match with dark chocolate desserts or braised short rib over the next 5 years. Fruit from Havelock North, late-picked, whole bunch fermented in open vat, fortified to 17% alc, 39g/l RS, aged for 15 months in seasoned barrels, unfined. 1,200 bottles produced. 18.5/20 pts (93 pts) Oct 2022 RRP $28 (375ml bottle)
And Relax by Unison Vineyard Red Wine 2022, Hawke’s BaySyrah from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 15-Mar-2023Clear, dark ruby, lighter on the rim. The nose is vibrant and attractive with succulent blackberry, Doris plum, and a hint of floral and herb. Medium-light bodied, blackberry and Doris plum aromas fill the palate, along with sweet floral, sage, black pepper and a hint of meatiness. Supple tannins lightly dusted the palate with a silky texture. The succulent fruit remains the star of the show, supported by balanced acidity and a lingering finish. This red wine is fresh, juicy and fun with soft, supple tannin and a moreish finish. Match with a lamb burger and char siu over the next 3 years. Made from Syrah from the Gimblett Gravels, fermented in stainless steel with many whole berries, pressed off after fermentation early with a basket press, and racked a few times over a few months to keep off settling lees and provide aeration. 12.4% alc. 18.5/20 pts (93 pts) Mar 2023 RRP $22
Trinity Hill Syrah 2021, Hawke’s BaySyrah from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 15-Dec-2022Deep, full, ruby with a purple rim. The nose is full and appealing, with aromas of sweet plum, blackberry and cherry melded with spice and a hint of floral. Medium-full bodied, aromas of plum, blackberry and cherry entwined with an amalgam of spice, cocoa powder and sweet floral. Supple tannins lightly coated the palate reflecting hints of toasty oak and cocoa powder. Succulent fruit reinforced by juicy acidity and spice lingered to a fresh, smooth finish. This Syrah shows attractive fruit and spice on a smooth, supple tannin mouthfeel. Match with lamb and game over the next 5 years. Fruit from vineyards on Gimblett Gravels, destemmed, fermented to 13% alc, aged in stainless steel tanks, seasoned small and large format French oak barrels. 18.5/20 pts (93 pts) Dec 2022 RRP $24.99
Ruru Pinot Noir 2021, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 21-Sep-2022Deep ruby-red with a black core, even colour throughout. The nose is elegantly full, greeted with red floral, bright aromas of cherry, and red berry entwined with thyme and bergamot. Medium-bodied, aromas of cherry and red berry are sweet in expression with well-balanced tartness, unfolding thyme, bergamot, red flowers, and black pepper lingers to a long finish. Finely extracted tannin provides a silky palate and texture; juicy and tart acidity brings out the concentrated fruit and lengthens the finish. This is an elegant Pinot Noir with concentrated red fruit, thyme, and floral interest. Match with pork and duck over the next 5+ years. Fermented to 13.8% alc, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 10% new oak. 18.5/20 pts (93 pts) Sep 2022 RRP $27
Three Miners Miner’s Right Pinot Gris 2022, Central OtagoPinot Gris from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 07-Dec-2022Bright, even, pale straw-yellow. The nose is expressive and full, with aromas of ripe pear and quince interweaved with spice, honeycomb and honeysuckle. Medium-full bodied, dry to taste, succulent fruit of ripe pear, quince entwined with five-spice, unfolding white floral and a touch of honey. The fruit is lush and generous, supported by lively acidity, carrying it to a creamy, long, refreshing, spiced finish. This appealing, refreshing Pinot Gris possesses lush and crunchy orchard fruit, five-spice and white floral on a creamy flow. Match with Pad Thai and pulled-pork tacos over the next 3-4 years. Handpicked fruit from own vineyard near Alexandra, whole bunch pressed to tank, fermented to 13% alc, 6.13 g/l RS. 18.5/20 pts (93 pts) Dec 2022 RRP $28
Church Bay Reserve Rosé 2022, Waiheke IslandRosé from New Zealand - Northland & AucklandReview Date : 25-Nov-2022Bright, even, pale salmon. The nose is soft and delicate, with aromas of red berries and strawberries melded with sweet floral and a hint of meaty, savoury element. Medium-full bodied, aromas of red berries and strawberries are succulent, enveloping red floral and underlining a mealy, meaty nuance. The fruit is juicy with a balanced, lively acidity; the mealy nuance enriched with creaminess broadens the mouthfeel. This is a fine-textured Rosé with juicy red fruit, mealy complexity and a refreshing finish. Serve as an aperitif or match with antipasto over the next 2-3 years. A blend of Merlot, Malbec and Syrah, fermented to 12% alc. 18.5-/20 pts (92 pts) Nov 2022 RRP $24.99
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay 2021, MarlboroughChardonnay from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 13-Feb-2023Bright, even, pale yellow. The nose is softly full and elegant, with aromas of citrus and stonefruit entwined with spice and nutty oak elements. Medium-bodied, aromas of lemon, lemon peels and grapefruit form a taut core, unfolding apricot, almond and spice. A creamy mouthfeel softens the citrus, zesty details; acid tension drives focus and persists to a long finish. This elegant Chardonnay is well-structured with a citrus core, spice and balanced nutty oak influence. Match with groper and pork over the next 3-5 years. Fruit from Central Wairau, wild fermented to 12.5% alc, aged in barriques. 18.5/20 pts (93 pts) Feb 2023 RRP $24.99
Maison Noire Fraicheur Chardonnay 2021, Hawke’s BayChardonnay from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 04-Oct-2021Bright, even, pale yellow colour. The nose is lifted and perfumed, soft aromas of citrus, mandarin flower and zest melded with a hint of spice. Medium-bodied, vibrant aromas of lemon, grapefruit and mandarin entwined with its rind, blossoms linger with zesty spice and a touch of almond and honey suggestions. The mouthfeel is smooth, almost unctuous, enlivened by vibrant and zest fruit; lacy acidity carries the wine to a nuanced finish. This is a zesty, vibrant Chardonnay with good energy and citrusy acidity on a fine-textured palate. Match with shrimps and baked cheese over the next 3 years. Handpicked fruit from a single vineyard in the Puketapu area by the Tutaekuri river, whole bunch pressed to stainless steel tank (free-run juice) and seasoned barrels (pressings), fermented to 13.25% alc, further aged a couple of months of full lees. 140 cases produced. 18.5-/20 pts (92 pts) Oct 2021 RRP $22
Hunter’s MiruMiru NV, MarlboroughSparkling Wine from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 08-Nov-2022Bright, pale straw-yellow with depth, even colour throughout. Bubbles are fine and consistent. The nose is softly full, with aromas of apple, yellow stonefruit and citrus preserves interweaved with baguette and wheat. Medium-bodied, aromas of apple, nectarine and lemon preserves enriched by baguette crust, wheat and cream. The mousse is fine and creamy, elevating the aromas on the palate. Excellent, softly integrated acidity carries the fruit core and creaminess to a moreish finish. This vivacious Methode Marlborough is harmonious with elegant complexities and a lingering finish. Serve as an aperitif or match with cured salmon over the next 3+ years. A blend of Chardonnay (41%), Pinot Noir (51%) and Pinot Meunier (8%), traditional methode, 12% alc, 9.26 g/l RS, 12-18 months on lees. 18.5/20 pts (93 pts) Nov 2022 RRP $29.90