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Top 42 best New Zealand wines of 2021 (for under $25)

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 1,100 entries from 144 wineries into our Top 50 wines for 2021.

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 2021 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.

Related article:

22 top Red Wines of 2021

Best New Zealand Red Blends under $25

Pair our top blends with these food recommendations:

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec are typically used in red blends, therefore similar food matches work well here. Although these wines can be powerful and substantial, they can also be gentler with elegant harmony and sophistication.

Red wine risotto with assorted mushrooms would be comfortingly delicious. The stylish beef Wellington with rich gravy works beautifully. Moreover, it’s a satisfying wine to finish a meal with aged cheeses and quince paste.


Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2019

Variety: Red Blends

Region: Hawkes Bay

Style: Full Bodied Red Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Black pepper, blackcurrant, cassis, cedar wood, dried herbs, floral, thyme, toasty oak

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: From the highly sought-after Gimblett Gravels district, this is dense yet refined, with cassis, thyme and spicy oak aromas, together with a silken texture and a pleasingly firm finish, making it a wonderful wine to accompany rich lamb shanks, beef cheeks or spicy curries. Or have it with aged cheddar at the end of a satisfying meal.


Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay "The Trinity" 2020

Variety: Red Blends

Region: Hawkes Bay

Style: Full Bodied Red Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Blackcurrant, cassis, cedar wood, dried herbs, floral, plums, spices

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: Trinity Hill is a favourite Hawke's Bay winery for many wine-lovers for their consistently excellent, great value wines. This Merlot-dominant red delivers blackcurrant, cake spice, toasted almond and just the right amount of dried herb notes, with a prolonged cocoa powdery finish. Adaptable in food pairing, this will complement anything from roast chicken to spicy tacos, through to grilled meats.

Related articles

Read our guide to popular red wine blends.

Best New Zealand Merlot under $25

Pair our top merlot with this food recommendation:

Bold opulent reds are capable of matching rich flavoursome dishes. Barbeque meats and sausages, deluxe pizza and burgers. An impromptu get together with friends or fancy dinners, they are versatile and joyfully tasty.


Allan Scott Family Winemakers Hawkes Bay Merlot 2020

Variety: Merlot

Region: Hawkes Bay

Style: Full Bodied Red Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Blackcurrant, cedar wood, dark berry fruits, dried herbs, floral, plums, spices

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Merlot bridges the gap between the stronger gutsy Cabernet or Shiraz, and the softer Pinot Noir, with its succulent fruit flavours and rounded texture. This is a real beauty, displaying juicy plum, raspberry, toasted spice and cedar aromas with a wonderfully generous palate. Wouldn't it be stunning with a rack of lamb, crusted with panko crumbs, garlic and rosemary?

Best New Zealand Pinot Noir under $25

Pair our favourite pinot noirs with these foods:

Pinot Noir is lighter in colour and richness than some reds but does not lack in power to enhance a wide range of dishes. Fabulous with duck confit with duck fat roasted potatoes, rack of lamb with herb crust and meltingly delicious slow-cooked pork belly. It can partner poultry as well as beefy casseroles, and the iconic pizza margherita is absolutely yummy with Pinot.


Luna Estate Pinot Noir 2019

Variety: Pinot Noir

Region: Wairarapa

Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Cherry fruit, dark berry fruits, dried herbs, forest floor, leather, mushrooms, plums, savoury, spices, thyme

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Burgundy region in France has a famous dish called beef bourguignon. This richly gratifying stew uses Pinot Noir as the base of its opulent sauce. You'll need two bottles - one for the pot and one for the meal shared with good friends. This Martinborough beauty is plump and smooth with sweet cherry, clove, almond and mushroom flavours, ideal for making this sophisticated dish and to accompany it.


Madam Sass Central Otago Pinot Noir 2020

Variety: Pinot Noir

Region: Otago

Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine

Price: $20 to $25

Key flavours: Cherry fruit, cranberry, dark berry fruits, plums, raspberry, red berry fruits, smoky, tamarillo, violet

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: Upfront and generous, this delectable Central Otago wine is filled with dark berry, roasted nut, violet and warm spice notes with a dash of savoury undertone. Plush and flavoursome while remaining groovy and mellow, it's a gorgeous wine to take it to a BBQ or have a glass with pizza while binge watching your favourite drama series.


McArthur Ridge Brassknocker Pinot Noir 2020

Variety: Pinot Noir

Region: Otago

Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Forest floor, leather, mushrooms, plums, savoury, spices, tamarillo, thyme

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: It's remarkable that Central Otago's dramatic landscapes and the extreme climate can produce Pinot with grace and fineness. From their vineyard on an elevated plateau on the outskirts of Alexandra, this seductively tasty wine shows dark plums and raspberries with nuances of baking spice and subtle oak, well supported by smooth rounded mouthfeel. Splendidly delicious.


The Ned Pinot Noir 2019

Variety: Pinot Noir

Region: Marlborough

Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine

Price: $20 to $25

Key flavours: Cherry fruit, cranberry, floral, plums, raspberry, red berry fruits, strawberry

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Part of Marisco Vineyard, established by the enormously experienced winemaker Brent Marris, The Ned wines emphasise bright fruit expression, varietal purity and approachability. Immediately appealing notes of Black Doris plum, mulberry, olive and fragrant spice are beautifully complemented by fine texture, making it a fabulous partner to dishes such as mushroom risotto.


Toi Toi Central Otago Clutha Pinot Noir 2020

Variety: Pinot Noir

Region: Otago

Style: Medium Bodied Red Wine

Price: $20 to $25

Key flavours: Cherry fruit, cranberry, dark berry fruits, dried herbs, forest floor, mushrooms, raspberry, red berry fruits, savoury, spices, thyme

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: By blending grapes from three distinct areas (Pisa in Cromwell Basin, lower river and upper terraces of Alexandra), the team at Toi Toi have smartly captured the essence of Central Otago in this stylish wine. Gorgeously composed with dark cherry, floral, anise and hazelnut characters, it's supple and velvety in the mouth, making it most pleasing and appealing.

Related article:

Read our Pinot Noir Guide

Best New Zealand Shiraz & Syrah under $25

Pair the best Shiraz & Syrah with these foods:

New Zealand Syrah offers elegance and roundness, making it delightfully juicy and supple. Great with spaghetti bolognese, steak with black or green peppercorn sauce and meat-lover’s pizza.

The Aussie version, Shiraz, packs more oomph and richness, ideal with BBQ veggies and meats, roast lamb with dark gravy and beef cheek ragu with pappardelle. The strong flavour of the wine is a great match for strong cheeses, especially aged cheddar and washed-rind cheese.


Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah 2020

Variety: Shiraz and Syrah

Region: Hawkes Bay

Style: Full Bodied Red Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Black pepper, blackberry and blueberry, cedar wood, cherry fruit, dark berry fruits, floral, liquorice, plums, raspberry, red berry fruits, spices

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: What a beautiful example of Syrah in its purest form. It has complexity too but this Champion Syrah is a textbook offering with perfumed aromas of dark plum, floral, pepper spice and liquorice, and the small amount of Viognier in the blend makes the mouthfeel fleshy and smooth with elegance and grace. Voted Champion Red Wine of the Show by the judging team, a well-earned accolade!

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:

25 Top White Wines of 2021

Best New Zealand aromatic wines under $25


Coopers Creek Marlborough Riesling 2018

Variety: Aromatics

Region: Marlborough

Style: Off Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apple, citrus, lemon blossom, lemon zest, lime, orange blossom

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: A noble grape of Germany, Riesling is often naturally lower in alcohol (11.5% for this one) and lighter in body, perfectly suited to antipasto and light salads. Fragrant notes of lemons and limes with subtle orange peel and honeysuckle, it's beautifully framed by whispering sweetness with a vibrant finish, making it mouth-watering and super tasty.

Food pairing: The fresh and elegant style makes Riesling a great aperitif with its crisp vibrancy. Also it’s brilliant with light seafoods and green salads. Medium to medium-sweet styles, especially with bottle age, can handle salads with grilled peaches or baked figs. Believe it or not, roast pork with apple sauce is a stunning match to sweeter style Rieslings. 


Lawson's Dry Hills Gewürztraminer 2019

Variety: Aromatics

Region: Marlborough

Style: Off Dry White Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Apricot, floral, guava, rose, spices, tropical fruit, toast, 

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: 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.

Food pairing: Perfumed and generously styled, Gewürz is gorgeous with lightly spicy dishes such as Thai beef salad, Vietnamese lemongrass chicken, ginger chicken, biryani and paella. Tropical fruit salad is also a good match, and it can handle richer cheeses such as creamy blue, feta and grilled halloumi.


Lone Goat Canterbury Ehrenfelser 2015

Variety: Aromatics

Region: Canterbury

Style: Off Dry White Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Apricot, citrus, floral, orange blossom, peach

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: 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.

Food pairing: A unique grape from Germany, Ehrenfelser has charming stone fruit and citrus flavours with a delightful tangy finish. It's similar to Riesling in taste but with more richness and body. Excellent with baked chicken with mild spices, pork chops with golden peach, and the classic match is caramelised onion tart. 


The Crater Rim Waipara Riesling 2016

Variety: Aromatics

Region: Canterbury

Style: Off Dry White Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Alpine flowers, apple, apricot, citrus, guava, orange blossom, peach

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: 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.

Food pairing: The fresh and elegant style makes Riesling a great aperitif with its crisp vibrancy. Also it’s brilliant with light seafoods and green salads. Medium to medium-sweet styles, especially with bottle age, can handle salads with grilled peaches or baked figs. Believe it or not, roast pork with apple sauce is a stunning match to sweeter style Rieslings. 


Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Albariño 2021

Variety: Aromatics

Region: Hawkes Bay

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Alpine flowers, apricot, citrus, floral, lemon zest

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: Originating from the Galicia province in the north-east of Spain, Albariño grape has a fun attitude about it. It's crisp and lively with a nicely weighted body. This impressive rendition shows white flesh peach, jasmine and citrus peel notes with a brisk, crisp mouthfeel, making it ideal with grilled fish and salt & pepper squid.

Food pairing: In the coastal province of Galicia in the north-west of Spain where this grape is famous, they drink Albariño with seafood. Grilled fish, seared scallops, steamed mussels, clam pasta, fish taco and salt & pepper squid are all good friends with this refreshingly mouth-watering white wine.

Related articles:

Read our Riesling Wine Guide

Read our Aromatic Wines Guide

Best New Zealand Chardonnay under $25


Misty Cove Landmark Chardonnay 2020 

Variety: Chardonnay

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: $20 to $25

Key flavours: Apricot, biscuit, brioche, creamy, custard, peach, stone fruit, toasty oak, vanillin oak

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Misty Cove has rapidly established themselves as a force in the Marlborough winemaking scene, winning the hearts of wine lovers with their charismatic, tasty wines. This is brimming with ripe stone fruit, vanilla, cedar and brioche notes with excellent depth and persistency, capable of matching roast chicken, seafood risotto and hot-smoked salmon with crème fraiche.


Montford Estate Chardonnay 2020 

Variety: Chardonnay

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Citrus, stone fruit, vanillin oak

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Part of the te Pā whānau, Montford Estate wines are designed to be approachable and easy to enjoy, and this is just that. Whether you're watching an All Blacks test on a cold winter's night, or enjoying a beach picnic at the height of summer, this friendly Chardonnay with juicy nectarine and citrus flavours and its gentle oak infusion will be the perfect addition to any get-together.


Saint Clair Marlborough Origin Chardonnay 2019

Variety: Chardonnay

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apricot, biscuit, brioche, cedar wood, peach, stone fruit, vanillin oak

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: This middle-weight Chardonnay is about succulent fruit expression with a hint of oak influence. Gala apple, apricot, golden pastry and roasted cashew flavours with a creamy texture make it soothing and comforting. Versatile for sure, share it at a mid-week dinner, take it to a neighbourhood BBQ, or even enjoy at a family lunch, this is a pleasing yummy wine for any occasion.


Stoneleigh Rapaura Marlborough Chardonnay 2020 

Variety: Chardonnay

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Brioche, cedar wood, citrus, mineral, peach, smoky, stone fruit, toasty oak

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Rapaura Series are Stoneleigh's top-tier wines with sophistication and extra dimension, while offering terrific drinkability. Beautifully crafted with ripe stone fruit, citrus peel, cedary oak and a touch of flinty complexity, this is engaging and persistent. Go fancy, try it with a prawn/crayfish cocktail or slow-roasted meltingly fatty pork belly with super crunchy crackling.


te Pā Chardonnay 2020

Variety: Chardonnay

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: $20 to $25

Key flavours: Apricot, biscuit, cedar wood, creamy, mineral, peach, savoury, stone fruit, toasty oak

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Head Winemaker, Sam Bennett uses his extensive overseas winemaking experience, including in Burgundy, the spiritual home of Chardonnay, to craft a stylish yet rich and flavoursome offering in this magnificent 2020 rendition. Beautifully layered with refined texture, the wine displays ripe stone fruit, lemon pith, nougat and roasted hazelnut characters with a whiff of flinty complexity. Voted Champion White Wine of the Show - it's supremely classy, yet affordable.


Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2020

Variety: Chardonnay

Region: Hawkes Bay

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apricot, brioche, cedar wood, creamy, mineral, peach, spices, stone fruit, vanillin oak

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: Villa Maria's expert team of viticulturists and winemakers bring out the best in Hawke's Bay and of this noble grape. Stylish, textural and seductively appealing with nectarine, baked fig, vanillin oak and subtle spice notes combined with a fleshy texture, it's gracefully beautiful and delectable. Serious and tempting at the same time.

Related article:

Read our Chardonnay Wine Guide

Best New Zealand Pinot Gris under $25


Rapaura Springs Reserve Pinot Gris 2021

Variety: Pinot Gris

Region: Marlborough

Style: Off Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apple, apricot, floral, guava, melon, orange blossom, ripe pear, rock melon, stone fruit

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Isn't Pinot Gris such a charming and easy-going wine? Splendidly styled by the top-notch winemaker, Michael Bann, who seems to have a magic touch with aromatic grapes, this is fragrant with Nashi pear, mango, rich floral with a light touch of spice, followed by a beautifully layered palate that's flowing and lingering. Champion Pinot Gris, not surprising at all.


Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Pinot Gris 2019

Variety: Pinot Gris

Region: Marlborough

Style: Off Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apricot, floral, orange blossom, peach, ripe pear, rock melon, stone fruit

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: Finding the right wine to serve at a party with a variety of nibbles can be tricky. Pinot Gris fits the bill, due to its mellow mouthfeel and gentle fruit intensity. With bottle age under its belt, this tasty Pinot Gris is a great all-rounder. Green pear, apricot and orange peel aromas lead the way to a juicy refreshing finish.


Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Gris 2021

Variety: Pinot Gris

Region: Marlborough

Style: Off Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Citrus, floral, guava, lemon blossom, orange blossom, peach, ripe pear, rock melon, spices, stone fruit, white blossom

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Wairau River flowed over what are now Stoneleigh's vineyards for thousands of years, leaving rich deposits of stones of all shapes and sizes. With a strong focus on sustainability and biodiversity, Stoneleigh wines are about fruit purity and vibrant expression. It's filled with poached pear, pineapple and rich floral notes with a lengthy silky finish.


Summerhouse Pinot Gris 2021

Variety: Pinot Gris

Region: Marlborough

Style: Off Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apricot, citrus

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Grapes are grown in the Blind River district, which is one of the driest areas in Marlborough, leading to concentrated and intense grape flavours. Classic summer peach and pear flavours with a juicy mouthfeel, this is an ideal complement to Vietnamese fresh rolls and salads, as well as soft mild cheeses.


Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Pinot Gris 2021

Variety: Pinot Gris

Region: Regional Blend

Style: Off Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apricot, citrus, floral, peach, ripe pear, rock melon, stone fruit, white blossom

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: Combining sunny-sweet fruits from Gisborne and Hawke's Bay backed by vibrant South Island grapes, this is succulent and plump with ripe pear and apricot flavours with a spicy undertone, finishing rounded and supple. There's a hint of sweetness, which makes it versatile, ideal with an antipasto platter and party nibbles.


Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris 2021

Variety: Pinot Gris

Region: Canterbury

Style: Off Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Citrus, floral, guava, orange blossom, peach, ripe pear, rock melon, spices, stone fruit, tropical fruit

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: Pinot Gris is one of the signature grapes in the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury, capturing an abundance of sunshine from their north-facing vineyards, enriching the fruit intensity and textural mouthfeel. Gorgeous ripe pear and quince with light spice nuances, this is splendidly rounded and lingering, making it suitable for richer dishes such as coconut-based curries and spaghetti carbonara.

Related article:

Read our Pinot Gris Wine Guide

Best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc under $25


Brancott Estate Reserve Awatere - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apple, citrus, cut grass, fresh herbs, gooseberry, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, lemon zest, nettle, passionfruit

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: Marlborough's first commercial planting began in 1973 at the famous Brancott Estate, now their wines are globally famous and enjoyed by millions. Brilliantly styled with red capsicum, crunchy apple, exotic lychee and lemon peel aromas, combined with a lively palate offering terrific fruit purity. A perfect partner to steamed mussels with tomato and basil.


Montana Winemakers Series Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Citrus, fresh herbs, grapefruit, guava, kiwi fruit, lime, melon, passionfruit, peach, stone fruit

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: This is just the ticket for Sauvignon lovers, delivering all the familiar juicy flavours with a delightful citrusy tang. Upfront and punchy, the inviting bouquet shows kiwifruit, jalapeno, green rock melon and lime zest notes, combined with a powerfully expressed palate offering fabulous intensity. Imagine yourself at a beach, sand between your toes, eating your favourite seafood platter.


Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Nelson

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Fresh herbs, gooseberry, guava, kiwi fruit, lemon blossom, lemon zest, nettle, passionfruit, rock melon, tropical fruit

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Their story began in the early '70s when Austrian-born Hermann Seifried and his Kiwi wife Agnes hand-planted vines in sunny Nelson, now a powerhouse in the region successfully run alongside their three children. Showing lifted aromas of passionfruit, snow pea and apricot, this is mouth-filling and texturally satisfying with bright fruit intensity and lively mouthfeel.


Summerhouse Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apple, citrus, cut grass, fresh herbs, grapefruit, lemon blossom, lemon zest, lime

Special features:

Judges’ comments: This fun-loving Sauvignon's tasty fruit flavours twinkletoe around your palate. Offering nectarine, grapefruit, green apple and citrus peel notes, combined with an intensely flavoured palate displaying terrific focus and length. This would be irresistibly good with freshly shucked oysters or seared scallops with creamy cauliflower purée. Bring on summer!


Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Citrus, fresh herbs, gooseberry, kiwi fruit, lemon blossom, lemon zest, lime, passionfruit, peach, stone fruit

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: This consistently outstanding label is brilliantly styled by the award-winning winemaker David Clouston, who combines grapes from both Wairau and Awatere Valleys to make Sauvignon in perfect harmony. Ripe gooseberry, nectarine and lime cordial notes with an exuberant finish will brilliantly match velvety goat's cheese on crunchy crostini.


Wairau River Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apricot, gooseberry, guava, lemon blossoming, lemon zest, lime, nettle, passionfruit, tropical fruit

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: One of the pioneering grape growers and winemakers in Marlborough, the Rose family have built their reputation by consistently delivering quality, reliability and value with their wide-ranging wine selection. This classic example offers tropical fruit intensity and just the right amount of elegant herbal infusion with a bright zesty edge. Just imagine it with thick, creamy seafood chowder.


Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry White Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apricot, citrus, cut grass, fresh herbs, gooseberry, guava, kiwi fruit, lemon blossom, lemon zest, lime, passionfruit, tropical fruit

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Yealand Wine's Seaview Vineyard, hugging the rugged coastline of the Awatere Valley looking out over the Cook Strait, produces some of the most intensely expressed Sauvignon Blancs in the region. This Champion winner is stacked with passionfruit, feijoa, kaffir lime and sweet basil notes. A great gift, or serve it at a dinner party with pan-fried fish and fresh asparagus.

Related article:

Read our Sauvignon Blanc Wine Guide

Best sparkling wines under $25

Looking for a pairing for sparkling wine?

The number one pick for celebration cheers. Bubbles are also versatile when it comes to food pairing, from freshly shucked oysters and prawn cocktails to fish & chips and loaded fries. Vietnamese fresh rolls and guacamole also work beautifully with the wine’s bright acidity. It’s also super comfortable with a cheese platter with spiced nuts, dried fruits and salty prosciutto.


Lindauer Special Reserve Rosé 

Variety: Bubbles

Region: Regional Blend

Style: Off Dry Sparkling Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apple, citrus, creamy, melon, strawberry

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: This crowd-pleasing sparkling wine has been around for decades, a go-to bubbly for so many of us, making it a great party addition, perfect for birthday cheers and other festivities and celebrations. Reminiscent of strawberries and cream, it's sweetly ripe yet crisp-dry with a smooth rounded mouthfeel and a deliciously refreshing finish.


Verde Brut

Variety: Bubbles

Region: Gisborne

Style: Dry Sparkling Wine

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apple, biscuit, brioche, citrus, mushrooms, savoury

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: Winning successive Gold medals at wine shows, this is seriously good, yet affordable. It'll be your dependable sparkling wine for picnics at the beach, impromptu weekend get-togethers and family gatherings. Made from classic champagne grapes, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it's elegantly complex with grapefruit, peach and croissant notes, leading to a long creamy finish. Fabulously approachable.

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.

Looking for a rosé food pairing?

This sunshine in a glass wine offers a myriad of options – great with antipasto platters and much more. Watermelon, mint and feta salad? Brilliant. Christmas ham with sticky glaze? Of course. Sushi with all kinds of fillings? Absolutely. Rosé offers juicy fruit intensity, which goes splendidly well with soft cheeses like brie and mozzarella, as well as a heart-warming spicy roasted-tomato soup.


Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Rosé 2021

Variety: Rosé

Region: Hawkes Bay

Style: Dry Rosé

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Alpine flowers, apple, apricot, cranberry, floral, lemon blossom, melon, peach, white blossom

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Esk Valley, under the guidance of the legendary winemaker Gordon Russell, made terrific Rosés many years before Rosé became oh-so-fabulously trendy. Unlike most, this is made from Merlot, grown in cool sites in Hawke's Bay to retain its freshness and vibrant charm. Mid-pale-pink in colour with ripe cherry and stone fruit flavours with a hint of savoury touch.


ME By Matahiwi Estate Rosé 2021

Variety: Rosé

Region: Regional Blend

Style: Dry Rosé

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Apple, apricot, candied cherry, cherry fruit, citrus, melon, peach, plums, rock melon, stone fruit, strawberry

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: Grapes were sourced from selected vineyards in the North Island for this flavoursome Rosé. It's a darker shade of salmon in colour, with lifted aromas of red apple, watermelon and floral, gorgeously supported by bright fruit flavours and silken texture. This richer style Rosé would be great with a cured meat platter or grilled vegetable salad.


SOHO Harry Rosé 2021

Variety: Rosé

Region: Marlborough

Style: Dry Rosé

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Apple, cherry fruit, citrus, grapefruit, raspberry, stone fruit, strawberry, white blossom

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: A super-sleek offering, this is delicate, persistent and vibrant, showing red berry, crunchy apple and white floral notes, beautifully enhanced by fine focus and flow. If you enjoy sushi and sashimi, try this crisp dry and delightfully appealing wine. It's light yet textured and steely, complementing the freshness of the fish while strong enough to counter soy sauce and wasabi.


The Good Grape Rosé 2021

Variety: Rosé

Region: Hawkes Bay

Style: Off Dry Rosé

Price: $15 to $20

Key flavours: Apricot, cherry fruit, lemon blossom, orange blossom, peach, raspberry, rock melon, strawberry

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: This is sunshine in a glass. Fabulously styled and expressed with juicy melon, raspberry and apple flavours, it's lively and lingering. Imagine sitting at a café in Provence where Rosé is a superstar. Perhaps bouillabaisse, the classic Mediterranean fish stew with herbs, garlic and tomato, or maybe pan-fried fish with ratatouille, and drinking this little beauty. Magic.


The Jules Rosé 2021

Variety: Rosé

Region: Gisborne

Style: Dry Rosé

Price: $20 to $25

Key flavours: Alpine flowers, apple, citrus, floral, lemon zest, melon, red berry fruits, rock melon, strawberry, white blossom

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: Jules Taylor, founder and winemaker, who was born in the same year as Marlborough's first vine planting, knows the district as well as anyone. This strikingly packaged wine tastes as good as it looks. Filled with ripe nectarine, watermelon and citrus peel flavours, offering terrific fruit purity and poise. Immensely charming and deliciously long.


Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Rosé 2021

Variety: Rosé

Region: Canterbury

Style: Off Dry Rosé

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Apricot, cherry fruit, melon, orange blossom, peach, raspberry, rock melon

Special features: Sustainable

Judges’ comments: This wine scores high on the yummy scale. It's beautifully scented showing ripe cherry, rock melon and tropical fruit aromas, together with a finely layered palate offering youthful fruit intensity as well as creamy texture and refreshing acidity. Totally delicious. This will be brilliant with most seafood dishes such as grilled prawns, smoked salmon and Thai fish cakes.


Yealands Rosé 2021

Variety: Rosé

Region: Regional Blend

Style: Off Dry Rosé

Price: Under $15

Key flavours: Cherry fruit, citrus, floral, orange blossom, pecah, raspberry, red berry fruits, ripe pear, stone fruit

Special features: Sustainable, vegan-friendly

Judges’ comments: No longer just a summer drink, Rosé is enjoyed throughout the year, and this exuberant wine with charming cranberry and peach flavours will suit any occasion, whatever the season. Heart-warming tomato soup with a cheese roll in the depth of winter or refreshing watermelon and feta salad at the height of summer, you go for it.

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
Best New Zealand red wines
Best New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs
Top white wines of 2021
5 of the best Pinot Noirs of 2021
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 14th 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.