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10 Best Wines in New Zealand Tasted & Ranked (2023 Edition)

Best Wine in New Zealand

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Today, we’re thrilled to uncork the finest treasures from New Zealand’s renowned wineries. We’ve personally sampled and savored each of these delightful wines.

So, get ready to embark on a sensory journey as we uncover the very best wine in New Zealand.

Top 10 Best Wines In New Zealand You Should Try 

10. Church Road, Grand Reserve Syrah 2019

Bottle of Church Road, Grand Reserve Syrah 2019 and a Glass

Average Price: around $25/750ml

Alcohol Content: 14% ABV

Nose: Rich berries and spices

Palate: black cherries, plum, licorice, black pepper, oak

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why We Like It: From Hawke’s Bay, this wine captivates us with its velvety palate and silky tannins. We like the harmonious blend of berries, spices, and oak, offering a truly divine experience.

Learn the history of winemaking here.

9. Villa Maria, Keltern Chardonnay 2020

Bottle of Villa Maria, Keltern Chardonnay 2020 and a Glass

Average Price: around $30/750ml

Alcohol Content: 14% ABV

Nose: Citrus and buttery notes

Palate: Peaches with delicate oak

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why We Like It: Keltern Chardonnay 2020 is a standout New Zealand wine for its prestigious accolades and remarkable complex palate.

“Exquisite flavors bloom: New Zealand’s best wines, a sensory delight.” – Liquor Laboratory

The enticing blend of ripe melon, citrus blossom, and grilled nuts, wrapped in a sleek and bright acidity, elevates this Chardonnay grape variety to a class of its own. But how much wine will get you drunk?

8. Marisco Vineyards, The Ned Pinot Noir 2020

Man Drinking Marisco Vineyards, The Ned Pinot Noir 2020

Average Price: around $21/750ml

Alcohol Content: 14% ABV

Nose: Raspberry and umami notes

Palate: Herbal complexity, sweet spice finish

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why We Like It: The Ned Pinot Noir 2020 from the Marlborough region impresses us with its refined elegance and remarkable bright acidity.

The blend of raspberry, herbal complexity, and a long sweet spiced finish imposes balance.

7. Craggy Range, Single Vineyard Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2020+

Bottle and a Glass of Craggy Range, Single Vineyard Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2020 with a Plate of Steak

Average Price: around $25/750ml

Alcohol Content: 14% ABV

Nose: Deep dark berry fruit

Palate: Velvety, earthy, and supple.

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why We Like It: The 2020 Single Vineyard Te Muna Road Pinot Noir wine is a delightful revelation with its deep berry flavors and velvety texture.

The earthy character and silky tannins add complexity, while the sweet spice on the long finish leaves a lasting impression. It’s a truly satisfying Pinot Noir wine that never disappoints.

6. Vidal Estate Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot

Bottle and a Glass of Vidal Estate Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot with a Piece of Swiss Cheese

Average Price: around $35/750ml

Alcohol Content: 13.5% ABV

Nose: Spice and tobacco aromas

Palate: Balanced acidity, firm tannins, plum, chocolate

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why We Like It: The Vidal Estate Legacy offers exceptional wines, particularly the Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot grape varieties, among their diverse range of wine styles.

This is an outstanding blend with its spicy and tobacco-infused nose. The balanced acidity, firm tannins, and delightful plum and chocolate notes create a harmonious symphony on the palate.

Read: Top Sauvignon Blanc Wines Under $30

5. Palliser Estate, Hua Nui Pinot Noir 2019

Bottle and a Glasses of Palliser Estate, Hua Nui Pinot Noir 2019 and a Grapes

Average Price: around $30/750ml

Alcohol Content: 13% ABV

Nose: Red berry fruit

Palate: black fruit, mellow tannins

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why We Like It: Among Palliser Estate’s wine styles in New Zealand, this red wine impresses us with its moody red berry fruit and sharp acidity.

We like its juicy character from sweet black fruit, and mellow tannins, delivering a great balance and complexity. This Pinot Noir from the Martinborough wine region is a true standout for its savory depth. Learn what to mix with red wine here.

4. Spy Valley, Pinot Noir 2020

Pouring Bottle of Spy Valley, Pinot Noir 2020 on a Glass

Average Price: around $26/750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.5% ABV

Nose: Cherry, spice, floral

Palate: Fresh, vibrant, elegant

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why We Like It: Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2020 is one of the captivating New Zealand wines with aromatic red fruits and herbs, complemented by cedar spice on the palate.

Its bright acidity and silky tannins make it a delightful New Zealand wine. The aroma and elegant palate showcase the dedication of New Zealand winegrowers to perfection.

3. Church Road, Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2020

Church Road, Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2020 and Corks on a Table

Average Price: around $35/750ml

Alcohol Content: 13.5% ABV

Nose: Stonefruit, citrus, roasted nuts

Palate: Flavorful, multidimensional, powerful

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why We Like It: Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2020, from Hawke’s Bay wine region in New Zealand, exudes excellence with its flavorful and multidimensional character.

The ripe stonefruit and fragrant citrus notes, complemented by roasted nuts and subtle creaminess, create a symphony of flavors. Its powerful yet restrained palate and balanced acidity leave a lasting finish most wine lovers want.

Read: How Much is Firstleaf Wine Club?

2. Delta Estates, Hatters Hill Pinot Noir 2021

Bottle of Delta Estates, Hatters Hill Pinot Noir 2021 and a Glass

Average Price: around $199/6-pack

Alcohol Content: 13.5% ABV

Nose: Fresh dark and red fruit

Palate: Thyme, oregano, floral notes

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why We Like It: Hatters Hill Pinot Noir 2021 is brimming with luscious dark fruits and earthy notes.

The thyme, oregano, and floral complexities on the palate add depth, making it a well-rounded Pinot Noir from Marlborough’s Southern Valleys.

But what’s the tastiest organic red wine?

1. McArthur Ridges, Southern Tor Pinot Noir 2020

Bottle of McArthur Ridges, Southern Tor Pinot Noir 2020 with Glass and Grapes on a Table

Average Price: around $297/750ml

Alcohol Content: 14% ABV

Nose: black cherries, white pepper

Palate: Ripe, fresh, elegant

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why We Like It: Southern Tor Pinot Noir 2020 wine is a new star rising in the Central Otago wine region in the South Island of New Zealand, known for its red wines and Rose grape varieties.

We like its bright ruby hue and full-bodied palate, combining ripe stone fruit and mellow tannins [1].

“Wine is bottled poetry.” – Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish Novelist

This New Zealand wine is a testament to the winemaker’s skill and dedication, making it a must-try for any wine lover.

Note: Prices are based on Drizly, Total Wine, and the official product websites. The star rating was determined based on a blind taste test, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest rating. Each product was evaluated on its overall quality, flavor profile, complexity, smoothness, and overall enjoyment.

How We Chose The Best New Zealand Wine Bottles

Aroma

We evaluate the aromatic profiles of New Zealand wines, seeking enticing notes of fruits, florals, and spices.

A captivating aroma enhances the overall wine experience, setting the stage for an enjoyable journey into the diverse terroir of New Zealand’s wine regions.

Taste & Finish

Taste and finish play a crucial role in our selection of the best wine in Zealand. So, we savor these New Zealand wines individually for their palate complexity, balance, and finish.

Also Read:

Reputation

We also consider the reputation and how every winery in New Zealand produces and honors its culture and methods. We consider red wines with prestigious awards and critical acclaim.

Quality & Representation

Quality and representation reflect every New Zealand’s diverse wine region. We prioritize wines epitomizing unique origin, terroir, and wine grape varieties [2].

Wine’s Appearance

Lastly, the appearance of wines holds significance in our assessment.

We appreciate New Zealand red wines with captivating hues and clarity, showcasing how New Zealand focuses on attention to detail and care in crafting visually enticing wines [3].

FAQs

Is New Zealand known for Pinot Noir?

Yes, New Zealand is known for its exceptional Pinot Noir, for its elegance, complexity, and vibrant fruit flavors.

What is the difference between New Zealand and California Sauvignon Blanc?

The difference between New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and California Sauvignon Blanc is their flavor and character.

New Zealand produces Sauvignon Blanc with intense tropical and zesty citrus flavors, while California Sauvignon Blanc tends to be riper and more rounded, often showcasing notes of melon and stone fruits. But do you know what’s the best wine in California?

What wine is New Zealand known for?

New Zealand is known for its exceptional Sauvignon Blanc wines from Marlborough’s Southern Valleys for their vibrant tropical fruit flavors and crisp acidity. But New Zealand red wines are also promising, particularly those from Central Otago due to the terroir’s cool climate.

What are the New Zealand wine regions?

New Zealand has several wine regions [4] located in the North and South Islands. Marlborough, Central Otago, Canterbury, and Waipara are from the South Island, and Auckland, Waiheke Island, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, and Wairarapa are from North Island.

Final Say

From the captivating Pinot Noirs of Central Otago and Hawkey’s Bay to the vibrant Sauvignon Blancs of Marlborough from the South Island, New Zealand red wines showcased unique flavors and characters.

Our team specifically liked McArthur Ridges, Southern Tor Pinot Noir 2020, as it captured our hearts with its sweet black cherries, mellow elegance, and delicate texture.

It’s a competitive wine in New Zealand’s wine industry, embodying the essence of its terroirs’ Pinot Noir, making it a deserving winner of our highest acclaim.

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/tannin
  2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/wine/Species-and-varieties
  3. https://www.newsweek.com/amplify/30-fascinating-facts-about-wine-that-you-never-knew
  4. https://www.afar.com/magazine/a-guide-to-new-zealands-wine-regions
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