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Top 50 best New Zealand wines of 2020 (for under $25)

Searching for the best New Zealand wines of 2020? Here are the best red, white & sparkling wines from the New World Wine Awards 2020. All wines are under $25 so there's no excuse not to try something new.

 

The New World Wine Awards helps you buy with confidence. You know a wine with a gold medal is going to be brilliant, and affordable at under $25. 

We’ve narrowed down over 1,202 entries from over 165 wineries into our Top 50. 

We enjoyed selecting these award winning New Zealand wines and we hope you enjoy your own personal discovery of them.

Related article:

How do we find the Top Drops? Meet the judges of the 2020 New World Wine Awards.

 

Best red wines under $25

Big and bold, or floral and fruity? However you like your red wine, here you’ll find award-winning wines of New Zealand for under $25.

 

Best New Zealand Red Blends under $25


•  Church Road Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Variety: Red Blends
Region: Hawkes Bay
Style: Full Bodied Red Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Cassis, dark berry fruits, leather, plums

Some of the best nights are just about catching up with friends, watching the game and ordering pizza. Here’s the perfect match! Big, intense and bold with lots of everything – fruit, texture and rich tannins coming together as a complete package. Still incredibly youthful, a wine that is drinking well now, but will reward with further aging.

  • Villa Maria Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon

    Variety: Red Blends
    Region: Hawkes Bay
    Style: Full Bodied Red Wine
    Price: $10 to $15
    Key flavours: Blackberry, beetroot, dark plums

    Dark plums, beetroot, cassis and blackberry with great purity of fruit, well managed oak, and soft youthful tannins, a long finish with juicy acidity. This is the classic varietal blend of France’s Bordeaux region, with stacks of flavour for a fraction of the cost. Just the thing with a thick, black pepper steak. A must for your next wine tasting night.

    Related articles
    Read our guide to popular red wine blends.

Best New Zealand Merlot under $25

  • Mud House Merlot

    Variety: Merlot
    Region: Hawke’s Bay
    Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
    Price: $10 to $15
    Key flavours: Dark plum, red berries

    A regular favourite with dark plum and red berry aromas. Medium bodied, with ripe raspberry and omega plum flavours. Smooth and rounded with subtle spicy oak and a long, lingering finish. Enjoy with red meats, lamb, poultry or pasta dishes.

  • Giesen Merlot

    Variety: Merlot
    Region: Marlborough
    Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
    Price: $10 to $15
    Key flavours: Dark berries, mixed spice

    Aromas of dark berry, spice and savoury oak will help you relax after a long day with this smooth Merlot. The balanced tannin and spice plum flavours goes beautifully with a leg of lamb or any serve of red meat.

  • Ngatarawa Stables Merlot

    Variety: Merlot
    Region: Waipara
    Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
    Price: $10 to $15
    Key flavours: Blackcurrants, liquorice, dried herbs

    The palate is full with flavours of blackcurrants, liquorice and dried herb. It is medium bodied with fine grain tannins: a soft yet concentrated wine. A perfect addition for any wine tasting lineup.

  • Summerhouse Hawke's Bay Merlot

    Variety: Merlot
    Region: Hawke’s Bay
    Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
    Price: $10 to $15
    Key flavours: Dark plum, mocha

    Awarded 95 points and a Gold medal in the 2016 New World Wine Awards. Summerhouse are producing a range of charming and captivating wines, and this Hawke’s Bay Merlot is testament to this. A new varietal release for them, it’s a product of 2016’s warm summer and early autumn. The aromas are dark plum and mocha, and the flavours are mouth-filling, warm and juicy. Great with everything from a roast of beef to venison sausages on the BBQ.

  • Toi Toi Gisborne Merlot

    Variety: Merlot
    Region: Hawke’s Bay
    Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
    Price: $10 to $15
    Key flavours: Spiced plum, cherry fruit, dried herbs

    This Hawke's Bay Merlot is gently lifted on the nose showing spiced plum, cherry, thyme and mixed spice aromas, followed by a juicy palate that is nicely rounded and lingering.

  • Yealands Merlot

    Variety: Merlot
    Region: Hawke’s Bay
    Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
    Price: $10 to $15
    Key flavours: Plum, dark berries, mixed spice

    The bouquet has concentrated notes of plum, dark berries and underlying cassis and warming spice. The palate is soft with finely balanced supple tannins and a rich lingering finish. Enjoy now, or cellar up to 3 years.

Best Pinot Noir under $25


•  Borthwick Paper Road Pinot Noir 2019

Variety: Pinot Noir
Region: Wairarapa
Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Cedar wood, cherry fruit, tamarillo

From the small, high quality wine-producing area of Gladstone, just over the hill from Wellington. Beetroot, mushrooms and duck are all extraordinary when paired with this Pinot Noir. Perfumed cedar, ripe black cherry and tamarillo fruit aromas extend through the palate, giving a gentle complexity. A very rich, polished wine with great length of flavour.


•  The Crater Rim "From the Ashes" Pinot Noir 2019

Variety: Pinot Noir
Region: Canterbury
Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Cherry fruit, dark berry fruits, spicy

Produced in Waipara, just north of Christchurch, ripe red fruits with an exotic hint of pepper and an attractive tension between fruit and tannins. Layers of really spicy fruit and a rounded textural mouthfeel, topped with an engaging long finish.


•  Framingham Nobody's Hero Pinot Noir 2019

Variety: Pinot Noir
Region: Marlborough
Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Cherry fruit

This year's Champion Pinot Noir is outstanding and an excellent example of the high quality of New Zealand Pinot. From the talented team at Framingham, try this with a butterflied chicken cooked on the BBQ and served with a roasted beet salad. Ripe cherry fruit with a hint of spice, the palate is plump, full and rich and very approachable. The tannins are firm but with fine integration and a long lingering finish.


•  Mount Brown Estates Pinot Noir 2019

Variety: Pinot Noir
Region: Canterbury
Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Cherry fruit, mushrooms, spicy

A distinctively South Island vineyard. Sweet ripe fruit, spicy tannins and a nice savoury mushroom character with great concentration of flavour yet still delicate. Engaging length of flavour with a rich textural finish. An amazing addition to a wine tasting evening.


• Sugar Loaf Southern Valleys Pinot Noir 2019

Variety: Pinot Noir
Region: Marlborough
Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
Price: $20 to $25
Key flavours: Cherry fruit, cranberry

From the Marlborough sub-region in the South Island comes an extraordinarily graceful Pinot Noir. Grown on clay soils, this is a delicious expression of the terroir. Perfect with dishes like slow cooked red wine beef casserole or slow roasted pork-belly. Bold tannins with good fruit flavours of black cherry and cranberry in balance. A very powerful expression, youthful with lots of fruit and glorious length of flavour.

Related article:

Read our Pinot Noir Guide

 

Best New Zealand Syrah under $25


• Paritua Stone Paddock Syrah 2018

Variety: Shiraz and Syrah
Region: Hawkes Bay
Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
Price: $20 to $25
Key flavours: Black pepper, blackberry and blueberry, dark berry fruits

Here we have the perfect wine to stock up on now and try regularly over the next five years. Hauntingly floral with a charming play between black and blue fruit. The palate is succulent and silky with great structure. A complete package from a single vineyard, displaying interesting maturity for a youthful wine.


• Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2019

Variety: Shiraz and Syrah
Region: Hawkes Bay
Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Black pepper, blackberry and blueberry, dark berry fruits, plums

If you were going to select wines based on quality and consistency, then this wine would have to be high on your list. It’s been awarded a Gold medal in this competition for its 2015, 2017 and now 2019 vintages. Made with grapes predominantly grown in the Gimblett Gravel region in the Hawke’s Bay, this wine has great weight and concentration with youthful fruit purity – plums, blueberry and a touch of black pepper. A very polished and complete wine.

Related article:

Read our Shiraz and Syrah Wine Guide

Best white wines under $25

Enjoying a quiet night in, or hosting a gathering with friends? Choosing one of these award-winning white wines of New Zealand for under $25 will make any occasion more memorable.

Related article:

24 Top White Wines of 2020

Best New Zealand aromatic wines


• Mount Riley Marlborough Riesling 2020

Variety: Aromatics
Region: Marlborough
Style: Off Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Citrus, floral, lemon zest

Riesling would have to be high on a list of ‘desert island’ wines – great flavours, aging ability, wide range of styles and perfect with fish… assuming there will be fish on the island. Youthful and understated with lovely acidity and balance. Pristine aromas of nice green lime zest and delicate white flowers, there’s a delightful fineness, accenting the crisp acidity.


• Seifried Nelson Gewürztraminer 2020

Variety: Aromatics
Region: Nelson
Style: Off Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Apricot, floral, spicy, tropical fruit

A mouthful of a name, but the wine is absolutely fantastic! Just call it “ga-vertz” and they'll know what you mean. Always recommended with Asian dishes, also try this one with a rich pâté or spicy chicken buffalo wings. Bright perfumed and pretty, with punchy varietal flavours of rose and lychee. Youthful with crowd-pleasing sweetness that is well balanced by refreshing acidity.


• Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Riesling 2018

Variety: Aromatics
Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Citrus, floral, grapefruit, lemon zest, lime, white blossom

This Riesling is dry with beautiful grapefruit marmalade flavours and is both focused and youthful with juicy lemony acidity and texture. The flavours seem endless, which is why it’s this year’s Champion. Riesling is not only a great value wine, it’s also one of the most food-friendly wines complimenting Indian, Asian, Spanish, North African and South American dishes. With seafood, think ceviche, Kokoda or sashimi.


• The Crater Rim Waipara Viognier 2019

Variety: Aromatics
Region: Canterbury
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Peach, spices, vanillin oak, white blossom

Although it’s dry, this is a gorgeous accompaniment to citrus based dishes, stewed apple and apricot, as well as leafy aromatic herbs like basil and tarragon. Like Chardonnay on steroids, a sort of wine for all seasons. Ripe peach, ginger and spicy floral notes with a hint of vanilla. The palate is creamy and generous, long lasting with balanced fruit flavour and acid.

Related articles:

Read our Riesling Wine Guide

Read our Aromatic Wines Guide

Best New Zealand Chardonnay


• Church Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2019

Variety: Chardonnay
Region: Hawkes Bay
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Creamy, peach, stone fruit, vanillin oak

In a year of incredibly spectacular wines, to be awarded Champion, a wine needs to be something very special, which is exactly what this Chardonnay is. The finish is elegant and generous - wonderful on its own, but pair it with smoked chicken and you have a whole new dimension. Starting with really concentrated ripe peach and nectarine aromas, the palate is creamy with rich texture and well-structured by firm acidity.


• Clearview Estate Beachhead Chardonnay 2019

Variety: Chardonnay
Region: Hawkes Bay
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: $20 to $25
Key flavours: Creamy, mineral, peach, stone fruit, vanillin oak

From a consistent producer who crafts these wines using artisan techniques and creates superb flavours. Grown right on the Hawke's Bay coast where the vines can hear the waves lapping. Brilliant with Nicoise salad or grilled fish fresh from the hot plate. Generous and rich mouthfeel with terrific stone fruit power, backed by vanilla oak. Layers of complexity with beguiling note of struck flint and a very long finish.


• Lawson's Dry Hills Reserve Chardonnay 2019

Variety: Chardonnay
Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: $20 to $25
Key flavours: Citrus, grapefruit, vanillin oak

This is a classic cool climate Chardonnay that will knock your socks off with a lunch of poached salmon and potato hash, with lots of fresh leafy herbs and, of course, plenty of friends. From Marlborough, a cooler region, so showing attractive citrus characters of mandarin skin and grapefruit pith. Lovely acid balances the fruit and beautifully integrated vanilla oak stretch through into a lingering finish.


• Stoneleigh Wild Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2019

Variety: Chardonnay
Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Citrus, mineral, peach, stone fruit, vanillin oak

Grown in the gravels of Marlborough, the reflected sun from the stones adds intensity to the ripening process and local indigenous yeast gives a complexity and flavour to the finished wine. Perfect with fresh Marlborough produce, the wine is rich, ripe and textural with loads of concentrated fruit and acid to provide balance and length. Appealing flinty characters giving a touch of struck flint complexity, a well-made and polished example.


• te Pā Chardonnay 2019

Variety: Chardonnay
Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Citrus, creamy, grapefruit, vanillian oak

From a winery with extraordinary sites of great historic value, try this Chardonnay with grilled portobello mushrooms, cooked with grated lemon rind, parsley and a small squeeze of garlic – perfect with crusty bread as a light lunch or served as evening tapas. The wine has beautiful aromas of perfumed white flowers and citrus. The palate is creamy with textured richness and flavours of pink grapefruit and well-integrated vanilla oak.

Related article:

Read our Chardonnay Wine Guide

Best New Zealand Pinot Gris under $25


• Rocky Point Pinot Gris 2020

Variety: Pinot Gris
Region: Otago
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Ripe pear

From Central Otago’s Pisa and Bendigo regions, here’s a wine that’s a terrific match with a double cream cheese on crackers spiced up with a touch of honeycomb, or pork and coriander stuffed dumplings. Pale and superbly made with an intriguing spice line through the palate. Dry with bracing acidity and medium weight. A lovely texture and long finish.


• Giesen Estate Pinot Gris 2019

Variety: Pinot Gris
Region: Marlborough
Style: Off Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Peach, ripe pear

The beauty of Pinot Gris like this is its adaptability to go with a range of foods, from a pork stir fry through to a cheese and mango chutney toastie and a bit of everything in between. A riper style with stone fruit flavours and wonderful richness. It has both flavour persistence and mouthfeel texture, a very polished wine.

  • Tohu Awatere Valley Pinot Gris

    Variety: Pinot Gris
    Region: Marlborough
    Style: Off Dry White Wine
    Price: Under $15
    Key flavours: Ripe pear, rock melon

    Very attractive with aromas of succulent fresh pear and the beguiling musk note of rock melon. The flavour is fresh and lingering with a long dry juicy finish to the wine. New Zealand's first Māori wine company brings us a wine that can be enjoyed beautifully on its own, but it will rise to another level when partnered with food. Match this with some hot smoked salmon, smoked kahawai or mackerel. The oiliness of these fish full of Omega-3 is perfect with this Pinot Gris


• Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris 2019

Variety: Pinot Gris
Region: Hawkes Bay
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Ripe pear

A fine wine made with a masterful artisan touch from one of New Zealand’s most consistent labels. A Champion wine from a champion producer, perfect to pair with mozzarella, especially when it’s on a pizza. A fine and delicate but juicy palate, with aromas and flavours of pear drops and fresh Du Comice pear, concentrated and balanced with bright acidity.


• Wither Hills Marlborough Pinot Gris 2019

Variety: Pinot Gris
Region: Marlborough
Style: Off Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Ripe pear

A wonderfully versatile wine to have on hand ready to pair with an impromptu backyard BBQ with the neighbours. It also loves all sorts of fish, pork bao buns, Thai chicken noodle soup and Asian inspired cuisine. Classic floral notes with quince and pear, the palate has crisply balanced acid. It’s clean and juicy with varietal purity.

Related article:

Read our Pinot Gris Wine Guide

Best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc under $25


• Alpha Domus Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Creamy, cut grass, gooseberry, tropical fruit

This Sauvignon Blanc is a wonderful pairing for Thai food, particularly green curries. Enjoy this wine at your local Thai BYO, with a takeaway or with your own Thai cuisine creations. Big, mouth-filling, rich and punchy, still very youthful with the creamy complexity from a small addition of Semillon done very well. The finish is long and balanced.


• Black Cottage Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Gooseberry, rock melon

Sauvignon Blanc is a special friend to Goat cheese. Whether it's in a goat cheese tart, or goat curd spread thickly on toasted Vogel's or a warm beet salad with Goat cheese, here is a wine that works beautifully. A burst of ripe green rockmelon and a rich palate makes this a very attractive wine, balanced by lots of good fresh zingy acidity.

  • Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc

    Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
    Region: Marlborough
    Style: Dry White Wine
    Price: $20 - $25
    Key flavours: Passionfruit, grapefruit, lime

    This upfront, in-your-face drop captures the essence of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit flavours combine with mouthwatering intensity and juicy acidity, giving way to a long, zesty, perfectly balanced finish. An amazing wine for food pairing or simply wine tasting.


• Mount Riley Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: $20 to $25
Key flavours: Gooseberry, grapefruit, guava, passionfruit

A late summer’s evening on a West Coast beach, drinking Sauvignon Blanc and eating freshly steamed green-lipped mussels – it has to be New Zealand. From a father, daughter and winemaker son-in-law, here is the essence of Marlborough Sauvignon. Lots of flavour with passionfruit, gooseberry and grapefruit pith, all combining to balance the acid and create a long intense finish.


• Rapaura Springs Classic Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Fresh herbs, gooseberry, passionfruit

The perfect gift to say thank you to the team, this versatile and appealing wine will please everyone. Whether using this as a gift, adding to a wine tasting evening, or a delicious wine to share with friends over a cheeseboard, it’s pure passionfruit with the beguiling complexity of a touch of struck flint, rich and textural with a long creamy passionfruit finish.


• Squawking Magpie Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Citrus, gooseberry, lemon blossom

Here’s a Sauvignon showing the very ripe flavours of concentrated citrus, lemongrass and Kaffir lime, balanced with crisp acidity and a long textural finish. Sauvignon is a marvellous wine to match with green vegetables like courgettes, fresh peas, artichokes and fresh asparagus. These are all fragrant fresh green vegetables that create the most wonderful risottos.


• Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Gooseberry, passionfruit, tropical fruit

Two Rivers recognises the importance of the Wairau and Awatere Rivers, which make up the spiritual heart of Marlborough’s wine region at the northern tip of the South Island. New Zealand has great winemakers and great vineyard sites, and when you get the two of them together magic happens. This year’s Champion Sauvignon Blanc has aromas and flavours of red capsicums and nectarine with a captivating creamy texture. Crisp acidity and great concentration with weight follows through to a long finish.


• Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Marlborough
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Fresh herbs, gooseberry, tropical fruit

One of New Zealand’s most successful wine companies founded in 1961 by Sir George Fistonich on a five-hectare plot in Mangere, Auckland. With a strong focus on quality, here is another Gold medal to add to their overflowing trophy cabinet. Brimming with flavours of soft ripe tropical fruits, great balance, texture and a long finish.


• Waiata Waipara Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Canterbury
Style: Dry White Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Cut grass, fresh herbs, gooseberry

A great example of Waipara Sauvignon Blanc, from just north of Christchurch in the South Island. Waiata vineyard promotes fruit driven wines and here they deliver in bucket loads. The classic flavours of cool climate Sauvignon, which New Zealand is famous for, are all here. Gooseberry, leafy herbs, green bean sprouts balanced with exquisite crunchy acidity, a real head turner.

Related article:

Read our Sauvignon Blanc Wine Guide

Best sparkling wines under $25


• Lindauer Vintage Series Brut Cuvée 2017

Variety: Bubbles
Region: Gisborne
Style: Dry Sparkling Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Brioche, citrus, creamy

A delightfully serious and very complete wine that will add to any celebration, or just fulfil a desire to experience a superb glass of sparkling wine. With the heady aromas of strawberries and just baked croissants, you could be in a Parisian café. Fantastic complexity and nicely balanced acid. Rich strawberry flavours along with wholemeal toasty notes create a complete package.


• Lindauer Vintage Series Rosé 2017

Variety: Bubbles
Region: Gisborne
Style: Dry Sparkling Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Brioche, strawberry, toast

A delightfully serious and very complete wine that will add to any celebration, or just fulfil a desire to experience a superb glass of sparkling wine. With the heady aromas of strawberries and just baked croissants, you could be in a Parisian café. Fantastic complexity and nicely balanced acid. Rich strawberry flavours along with wholemeal toasty notes create a complete package.


• Morton Estate Brut

Variety: Bubbles
Region: Hawkes Bay
Style: Dry Sparkling Wine
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Brioche

Traditionally sparkling wines have been expensive wines for a rare celebration, but at this value you can celebrate many different occasions. Great to welcome the new season’s steamed asparagus. Intense rich concentration with toasted brioche aromas and flavours of yellow apple and raw almonds. Lovely green apple acidity with nice even bubbles and an attractive long textural finish.

  • Morton Estate Black Label Brut 

    Variety: Bubbles
    Region: Hawkes Bay
    Style: Dry Sparkling Wine
    Price: $15 to $20
    Key flavours: Brioche, lemon curd

    Pale yellow with a fine bubble and bread crust aromas. The palate is fresh with lemon curd notes and toasty biscuit. Beautiful fine acidity balances the palate fruit weight and ends in a long fresh finish. It is said that James Bond’s favourite Champagne was vintage Taittinger Brut, but I think only because he hadn't tried this Champion.

  • Te Hana Sparkling Rose Cuvee 

    Variety: Bubbles
    Region: Gisborne
    Style: Dry Sparkling Wine
    Price: $15 to $20
    Key flavours: Cherry fruit, strawberry

    Awarded 95 points and a Gold medal in the 2019 New World Wine Awards. When you look at the sparkling winemaking process, it’s complex and often expensive so I’m always pleasantly surprised to see the incredible quality of wine at this price point. This champion Rosé has lovely fresh strawberry and cherry notes. The taste is complex and opulent with flavours of strawberry and brioche, concentrated with a super long flavour – all the characters which makes these wines such a joy, especially with summer picnics just around the corner.

  • Selaks The Taste Collection Berries & Cream Sparkling Rose

    Variety: Bubbles
    Region: Hawkes Bay
    Style: Dry Sparkling Wine
    Price: $15 to $20
    Key flavours: Creamy, berries

    A very pretty pink hue, bouquet of red apple and raspberry. Great fruit concentration and vibrancy, the berry fruits and strawberry flavours are extended and very intense, leading into an off-dry finish. Here’s a match for Nicoise salad, perfect with the cold potatoes, lettuce, tuna, tomatoes, olives, egg and anchovies with a mustard, oil and vinegar dressing.


• Verde Brut

Variety: Bubbles
Region: Gisborne
Style: Dry Sparkling Wine
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Apple, brioche, citrus, lemon zest

Here’s a reason to explore food matches and sparkling wine. Sparkling wines are a great friend to strawberries, grilled prawns and even grilled pork with a maple syrup sauce. Followed by a good series on Netflix! This one has lovely crisp acidity with a complex yeasty note and hints of lemon peel and apple. Fine persistent bubbles and an exquisitely textured creamy palate with a long flowing finish.

Related article:

Read our Sparkling Wines Guide

Best Rosé wines under $25

Rosé is becoming more and more popular in New Zealand. 2020 has been an excellent vintage for Rosé; you’re sure to enjoy these award-winning examples.

Related article:

Wine trends to watch out for in 2020 and beyond


• MIDDLE-EARTH™ Pinot Meunier Rosé 2020

Variety: Rosé
Region: Nelson
Style: Off Dry Rosé
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Strawberry

Rosé is produced from a very uncommon grape, Pinot Meunier. This is normally the third grape in the Champagne trio along with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. A wine that demonstrates the amazing range of this grape, from dark red to sparkling white to this light pink Rosé. Great with scallops and clams or fresh kina. Delicate strawberry aromas reveal a vibrant palate, beautifully textured acidity and a long delicate finish.


• Mount Riley "The Bonnie" Pinot Rosé 2020

Variety: Rosé
Region: Marlborough
Style: Off Dry Rosé
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Candied cherry, raspberry, strawberry

The Champion ultimate summer wine, Rosé, which is also brilliant with the international flavours of Japanese chicken yakitori, Mexican tacos or even an Indian chicken korma. This is serious Rosé that’s great with food or as an aperitif. Light pink colour, with aromas and flavour of sweet raspberry candy. Silky flowing mouthfeel, which is juicy with bright acidity, a strong style statement and is an absolute standout.


• SOHO White Collection Harry Rosé 2020

Variety: Rosé
Region: Marlborough
Style: Off Dry Rosé
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Raspberry

The ideal wine to take to impromptu events on early warm summer evenings, it’s a great ‘drinks and nibbles’ choice which will take you through to dinner. Understated with soft sweet spices, lovely textural acidity balanced by raspberries and a hint of sweetness, with a long crisp finish.


• Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2020

Variety: Rosé
Region: Marlborough
Style: Off Dry Rosé
Price: Under $15
Key flavours: Creamy, red berry fruits, strawberry

Some memories just make summer magic – like the smell of sun on the flax bushes as you walk to the beach, the alluring sizzle of sausages on a BBQ and a Rosé like this. Bewitching pale pink colour, gorgeous floral aromas with hints of jasmine. Flavours of creamy red fruits, beautiful acid-sugar balance and a long linear finish. Light and frivolous but very smart.


• Waiata Waipara Pinot Noir Rosé 2020

Variety: Rosé
Region: Canterbury
Style: Dry Rosé
Price: $15 to $20
Key flavours: Creamy, strawberry

This is a wine that’s graceful and light on its feet. Very pretty pink colour, flavours of strawberries with an underlying creamy texture. Superb balance, spicy acidity, juicy and very long persistent finish. It’s from a winery with a focus on the concept of ‘extended whanau’ of family and friends sharing good times, good food and good spaces together, along with wines that are expressions of the land.

Related article:

Read our Rosé Wines Guide

Explore New Zealand’s best wines

Hopefully, now you feel more confident to try a new style of wine, or your favourite wine variety from a new vineyard. As much as the Awards celebrate the achievements of our wine industry, a gold medal on the label ensures you’re getting the best quality, affordable wines in-store.

Learn more about each wine varietal in our wine varietals guide.

Ready to try some award-winning New Zealand wines? All of our Gold medal-winners are available now from your local New World. 

Related articles:

Read our guide to the different types of wine
Latest wine trends in 2020
Best New Zealand red wines
Best New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs
Top white wines of 2020
8 of the best Pinot Noirs of 2020
Best New Zealand wines for under $20

About the author, Jim Harré

Jim Harre’s passion for wine runs in the family – his grandfather, father and brother were all winemakers and his other brother is involved in the wine and food industry in France. Jim has been involved in the New World Wine Awards since 2008, this being his 13th year as Chair of the Judging Panel. 

He also has extensive experience judging in New Zealand as well as in Australia, China, Japan, UK and the United States.

His roles include Panel Chair for New Zealand Winegrowers, Chair of Judges for the China Wineluxe Competition, Chair of Judges for the Victorian Wine Competition in Australia, Chair of Judges for the International Aromatic Wine Show, Panel Chair for the International Wine Challenge in London and San Francisco International Wine Competition and a wine consultant for Air New Zealand.