New award winning wines under $25

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I’m sometimes struck with a touch of anxiety (tinged with “Do I really care what others think of me?”) when writing about Riesling. I’ve loved this grape and the wine it makes for so long that it’s become a bit of an eye rolling exercise of ‘Well, of course you would write about that because you always love a Riesling.’ It’s true. I do love a Riesling. And this month, it would appear that I’m not alone because results of this year’s New World Wine Awards Top 50 wines under $25 vindicate anyone who has fallen for this wine’s citrusy refreshing charms.


Left to right: Gold medal winning top drop under $25 at this year’s New World Wine Awards; the first Giesen Riesling from the Mosel and the newly released 2019 Giesen Marlborough Riesling.

The most awarded wine in the awards’ 17 year history is Riesling. More specifically, one particular Riesling – the 2018 Giesen Estate Riesling has now won gold and made it onto the awards’ top 50 list for the seventh consecutive year.

It’s a fact that won’t be lost on competition chair of judges, Jim Harré, a Riesling lover if ever there was.

His description of Riesling as fresh and pure is exactly as I think of this great wine grape; the most planted grape overall in Germany, where the Giesen brothers were born and bred, prior to making New Zealand their home in the early 1980s. They made their first Giesen Riesling in 1984 and while its medal and trophy tally is an impressive one, the thing I love even more is the fact that these brothers have now bought a slice of the vineyard action back in their homeland, Germany.

Memories of their grandfather, August Giesen, buying barrels of Riesling from the Mosel prompted them to buy part of the Goldlay Vineyard in the Mittelmosel, in the village of Reil. It’s a small village with 120 hectares of terraced vineyards, of which Goldlay Vineyard is west facing with an incline of 50 to 70%, considered average in terms of steepness in the Mosel.

Maybe it’s my working class upbringing or the fact that I was young, clueless and earning very little money at a bogus regional TV station when I first got into loving wine. Whatever the reason, I’m a bargain hunter and I’m conscious of the fact that most people who love wine don’t walk around willing to drop a spare $50+ on a bottle of wine each week, so the results of this year’s New World Wine Awards are relatable. I have no professional connection with these awards, now in their 17th year, but I’ve always been impressed with the focus on coming up with 50 top wines under $25.

I have re-tasted the following wines Giesen Wines this week and they all have the X factor.

Wines of the week

Sneak preview of 2018 Giesen Reiler Goldlay Riesling, $24.99

2018 Giesen Mosel Reiler Goldlay Riesling $24.99
This is the newest Giesen Riesling and it comes from the family’s homeland in Germany where it was made by Mosel winemaker Tobias Treis from the Giesen family’s newly acquired vineyard of Goldlay in the village Reil. It’s 12% ABV, made in a classic style. This means its high acidity is balanced by residual sugar to put it in the medium sweet category – it rocks great flavours of white peach, green apples, lemon zest and finishes on a crisp, lingering note of crispness coupled with succulence.

Official release is early 2020.



2018 Giesen Estate Riesling $11.99
A super tasty Riesling from a challenging year; this wine has 11% ABV and still tastes youthful in a medium dry sort of way with its high acidity, light body and long finish.

2019 Giesen Estate Riesling $11.99
Brand spanking new from the tasty 2019 vintage; a good year for aromatic whites. This one has a low-ish 9.5% ABV, is medium dry, with high acidity, a medium body and a long, flavoursome finish with juicy succulent mouthfeel. Ripe peach, green apples, limes and lemon zest flavours fill every succulent mouthful.


  • The New World Wine Awards Top 50 winning wines are on shelves in liquor-selling New World stores nationwide. All are available for under $25, and over half are under $15.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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