It’s a beautiful thing when quality and affordability combine, and this year’s Top 100 offers a range of cracking wines for $20 or less.
With the big events of the season bound to sneak up on us before we know it, it’s a good idea to have a variety of crowd-pleasing bottles to hand. The good news? You don’t have to pay big bucks to fill the wine fridge.
You may have missed out on the Top 100’s rare 99-point riesling, but we’ve pinpointed another exceptionally scored example that retails for just $20. Hunter Valley semillon is a unique style in world terms (and one of James Halliday’s favourites) and among this lot there’s a bottle for chump change. Aussie chardonnay is having a moment, and local and international commentators are lavishing it with praise. Available in a variety of styles and at every price point, we’ve selected a "generous and rich" version that won’t break the bank.
Rosé in the warmer months is refreshing and a versatile match for food. Adding to its appeal, it’s an easy one to add to the shopping basket without blowing the budget.
Of the reds, shiraz and its blends tend to provide reliably affordable options, but pinot noir in this price bracket is harder to find. Well fear not, pinot lovers, because we’ve rustled up a great one for you to track down and try.
Take a peek at our selection ahead, or continue to the Top 100 where you'll find many more in the best white wines under $20 and the best reds under $25.
2016 West Cape Howe Frankland River Shiraz
Matured in new and used French oak – not much at this price, and no more needed. It has bright, fresh flavours of plum, black cherry and blackberry, with a liberal sprinkle of black pepper and spice, tannins a feature of a wine worth twice the price.
RRP $20 | 2036 | West Cape Howe Wines
2016 Mike Press Single Vineyard Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir
The grapes were thinned three times, a very expensive process for an $18 pinot noir, but was repaid by the sheer power and depth of this savoury, complex wine. Spices, plum and dark cherry fruit point to a prosperous future, but at this price you can afford to cellar some, drink some.
RRP $18 | 2024 | Mike Press Wines
2017 Oakridge Over the Shoulder Yarra Valley Rosé
The innovative blend of 75% pinot noir, 16% pinot meunier and 9% pinot gris has proved to be a brilliant success thanks to the attention to detail in the vinification. Wild strawberry flavours are on intimate terms with the spicy, tangy acidity. Rosé doesn't come better than this.
RRP $19 | 2018 | Oakridge Wines
2016 Helen’s Hill Ingram Road Chardonnay
Multi-clone, wild-fermented in French oak (10% new), 10 months maturation. Generous and rich, with nectarine and white peach to the fore, neatly tightened on the finish by grapefruit/citrus acidity. Ready now.
RRP $20 | 2022 | Helen’s Hill
2016 Devil’s Corner Riesling
Won three trophies at the Tasmanian Wine Show '17 thanks to its mix of extreme purity, intensity and length. Its balance and aftertaste of lime, Granny Smith apple and lemon follows with the inevitability of day into night. It has limitless longevity, but I'll settle for 30 years.
RRP $20 | 2046 | Tamar Ridge
2017 De Iuliis Hunter Valley Semillon
The bouquet has a quiver of citrus, lemongrass and talc, the palate firing its arrows with prefect precision, filling the senses with Meyer lemon juice and crisp acidity. The wine is open for business but also has a great future.
RRP $20 | 2037 | De Iuliis
Next article: The new 99-point wines