From the tasting team

The Tasting Team's go-to wines for $20 or less

By J'aime Cardillo

27 Feb, 2024

If you're drinking smarter this year, then we're here to help you do that. We asked the Tasting Team which wine they'd buy with $20 – see who came in under budget.

We know the country is in the grip of a cost of living crisis, and that splurging isn't in everyone's budget right now, but you can still drink quality, bang-for-your-buck wines. We asked the Halliday Tasting Team for the wine they'd buy with $20.

Chief editor Campbell Mattinson recently tasted Muto's 2023 Albariño for the 2025 Companion. The white wine from Riverland comes in at $20 exactly, and Campbell says it's "excellent".

Philip Rich's pick is the 2023 Wickhams Road Gippsland Pinot Noir, which is Hoddles Creek Estate's secondary label. The pinot is bang on $20 and Philip scored it 95 points. "Franco [D'Anna] has been hitting it out of the park forever when it comes to affordable, well made and delicious pinot." And he can't forget Mitchell's 2023 Watervale Riesling, "...because riesling is still under appreciated and under valued in this country and elsewhere!" 

Jane Faulkner says that while $20 is a price point that's getting harder to find, when it comes to quality for a lobster, she (like Philip) can't go past Wickhams Road. "Especially the Yarra Valley Chardonnay or Gippsland Chardonnay." Both are $19.99.

Dave BrookesDave Brookes.

In terms of quality for price, Jane also recommends rizza (AKA riesling) as a varietal. "Too many to mention but consistently great value matched to quality."

Like Jane, for Marcus Ellis, riesling is still the winner. "The Jim Barry Watervale is a bit over $20 at full tariff, but it typically sneaks under that." Vintage Cellars, Dan Murphy's, Liquorland, Nicks Wine Merchants, and Wine Star all have the Watervale for between $17 and $20. 

"The Unico Zelo's Tropo range also comes in at a similar price on a good day, as does Ricca Terra's rosé – so reliably bright and delicious," says Marcus.

Dave Brookes' pick is the 2021 Mike Press Shiraz, which is almost unbeatable value at $15. James Halliday rated the Adelaide Hills shiraz 'outstanding' at 94 points.

Toni Paterson MW, who tastes for the Hunter Valley and Victoria's Pyrenees region, has found a loop hole in half bottles. Toni's go-to wine is a half bottle of the 2023 Brokenwood Semillon, which you can pick up for $15 from the cellar door.

Jeni PortJeni Port. 

Shanteh Wale says Cirillo Wines' The Vincent Grenache has always been a great buy, but it does just go over budget, at $25 direct from the winery, or $23 if you're a member at your local Dan's. Shanteh also recommends Logan WinesWeemala Shiraz Viognier, which teeters between $20 and $22. 

For Mike Bennie it's the organic ranges from either Farm Hand (by Fourth Wave Wine) or Yalumba (GEN). Mike says Yalumba's GEN range can usually be found for less than $20, and he says the viognier in particular is the winner.

"There is a mighty tasty wine at $20 – Angus the Bull's 2022 Wee Angus Merlot from Central Victoria. It's a damn smart 90-point wine," says Jeni Port.

Another top pick for Jeni is the Baileys of Glenrowan Organic Small Batch Series Fiano from the 2022 vintage, although it does come in at $23. A self-proclaimed marsanne nut, she says while Tahbilk's marsanne is slightly over the limit at $22 if you buy direct (in fairness it was $15 for decades and you can still get a hold of it for less than $20 at Dan Murphy's), The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne by d'Arenberg is $19 direct from the McLaren Vale winery ($16.15 for members).

Top image credit: Parker Blain/Wine Australia.