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With Spring in full swing and the sun shining brightly, it’s time to bid adieu to winter hibernation and step into the great outdoors for some quality time with friends and family. What better way to celebrate the reduced heating bill than spending those savings on a bottle or two of some exceptional yet reasonably priced Kiwi wines?

In recent weeks, I’ve had the privilege of tasting hundreds of new vintage and current-release wines, and 2023 has proven yet another exceptional year for whites and roses from many of New Zealand’s top wine regions.

So, whether you’re headed for that long-awaited gathering or prepping for the grand BBQ unveiling, let me introduce you to a selection of my recently tasted, top-value Kiwi favourites. These wines will elevate your spring gatherings without causing a huge dent in your wallet.


Sunny afternoon refreshers:

Two Rivers – Isle of Beauty Rosé 2023 

Marlborough, $22 – 5 stars. 

A must-try this Spring – a refreshing blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Viognier from the Southern Valleys of Marlborough.

Light and bright, with delightful bright cherry and strawberry characters, layered with ripe peach and watermelon. This elegant wine finishes with a refreshing mineral and a subtle saline kiss, making it your ideal companion for a sun-drenched afternoon by the water’s edge.



Leefield Station Sauvignon Blanc 2023

Marlborough, $224.5 stars

This wine tastes like a vibrant spring day. It paints a greener spectrum of flavours with zesty grapefruit, lime peel, and a crunchy granny smith apple acidity, all sprinkled with fresh herbs. The wine maintains a clean and straightforward profile, enhanced by subtle mineral undertones. A sip of Leefield Station will leave you feeling refreshed & revitalized!



Anchorage Sauvignon Blanc 2023 

Nelson, $17 – 4.5 stars

Bias disclaimer alert – I was lucky enough to work two vintages at this winery (2019/20) – however, I hold firm on this pick as I recently picked it blind at a wine show as one of my top-scoring Sauvs from a national flight of 2023s.

This zesty, energetic crowd-pleaser springs to life with citrus blossom, sugar snap pea, guava and passionfruit aromas. It boasts a beautiful, luscious palate weight that surfs the fruit flavours across the tongue, leaving a robust, juicy finish all lifted by zingy limey acid. Slip, slop,                                                                   slap and pour.


Looking for a little more oompf?


Nautilus Albarino 2023

Marlborough, $30 – 4.5 stars

If you’re looking for a wine that packs a little extra punch, Nautilus Albarino is your go-to choice. With notes of peach, nectarine, orange blossom and a hint of oyster shell, this wine has a decadent, almost oily richness lifted by a tantalizing citrus acidity. It’s juicy and textural – like biting close to a ripe nectarine pip. Rich, zingy and lively – it’s excellent.




Askerne Reserve Chardonnay 2022 

Hawke’s Bay, $35 – 4.5 stars 

For those who appreciate the buttery, smoky oak char in their Chard, the Askerne Reserve Chardonnay is a dream come true. It boasts delightful stone fruit richness, harmoniously balanced by a citrus lift and a prolonged finish, accented by a subtle gunflint note. This wine is sheer sophistication in a glass.



Beefy BBQ Reds:

Saint Claire – James Sinclair Malbec 2021 

Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay.  $28 – 5 stars

When the BBQ beckons, James Sinclair Malbec emerges as a great selection. This wine is unapologetically bold and robust, greeting the palate with luscious, sweet blackberry fruit, embracing a meaty character reminiscent of a sizzling grill alongside a delicate whisper of violets. Toasty, smoky notes from the oak add layers over the firm tannins. You can count on this wine to evolve beautifully from 2023 to 2028. It’s the perfect companion for grilled steak or a cosy evening around the fire pit with good friends.




Tipping Point – The Opportunist Syrah 2021 

Hawke’s Bay. $22.50 – 4.5 stars

Sip, savour, save a Kea! Sweet black fruit and peppercorn aromas, lifted with a heady violet whisp. Textural and dark baked spiced plum tones on the palate, this wine has oodles of ripe fruit softness that plays out to a moreish, fresh finish. This is a great pocket-friendly quaffer you can impress your friends with over a snag or two, and even better – every purchase goes toward helping the Kea Conservation Trust.



 Whether you’re sipping Sauv enjoying a sunny afternoon, elevating your shellfish with a lively Albarino, or firing up the BBQ with a beasty Malbec, these wines will add that extra magic to your spring gatherings. Cheers – to some epically flavour-filled get-togethers!