Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Five (very) good Pinot Noirs under $25

Is it possible to buy great Pinot Noir for less than $20?
The short answer is: no. But, inspired by a couple who attended Winetopia in Wellington in the weekend, I thought the time was nigh to share my five best buy recommendations under $25, which is the threshold (if you know where to shop) for very good quality Pinot on a budget. It may be more than you’d ideally like to spend on a weeknight red but how big is the dent that take out coffees make in your wallet each week? Perhaps it means drinking less wine (and coffee) but stepping it up on the quality level. Here are five Pinot Noirs that consistently deliver the X factor for a modest price. Modest? Not big, free of pretension and relatively medium or low, according to Google.

Five top Pinot Noirs under $25

2018 Deliverance North Canterbury Pinot Noir $21.99 to $25-ish
A light and juicy style that tastes super refreshing and delivers delicious flavours for the price. Not surprising it comes from North Canterbury’s Muddy Water Wines, which always highlight great quality.

2018 Nor’ Wester North Canterbury Pinot Noir $21.99 to $25-ish
The gateway Pinot to the impressive range made at Greystone Wines in the Waipara Valley, just down the road from Pegasus Bay. I love the earthy depth in this wine. It is outstanding, especially at the price.

2018 Main Divide North Canterbury Pinot Noir $24.99
The second tier of Pegasus Bay and regularly the beneficiary of grapes destined for bigger things. It’s well known, well loved and always delivers, big time.

2017 Mansion House Marlborough Pinot Noir $24.99
Marlborough is more than a one trick pony, as the region’s Pinot Noirs (and many other wines) show. Mansion House is another lesser known label as the supposed second tier to the large Whitehaven Wines. I love the earthy nature of this refreshing and affordable Pinot Noir.

2018 Te Hera Martinborough Pinot Noir $23.99
Under priced and under the radar, this is a tasty little Pinot Noir from Martinborough, which over delivers on flavour and on its modest price tag. It’s made with grapes grown at Te Muna, 9 kms east of the village, where winemaker John Douglas has a vineyard. I keep telling him to put the price up but he won’t, so here’s a bargain buy, if ever there was.