Don’t have a sommelier in your circle of friends?

Well then, here’s the next best thing.

Simply put, at Hunter and Bligh, we love wine. We love drinking it, we love cooking with it, we love visiting it in the countryside and most of all, we love learning about it.

Unfortunately though, we’re not experts. We’re happy taste-testers who appreciate a great drop or two. But, fortunately for you, we’ve got great friends, like the team at United Cellars, who are brimming with wine experts filled with the latest tips and trends on what to look out for – wine crisis averted.

When tasked to explore the world’s best new releases, we looked to them. And boy, did they deliver. Eight sensational drops from three of the world’s best wine producing regions including New Zealand, Italy and France. Better yet, each with an affordable price tag, without compromising on quality. Whether you’re a passionate wine lover, a social drinker, new to the game or simply want to one-up your friends, here are the best new releases to set your wine game above the rest.

Heredita Cotes Du Rhone 2017

This exciting new wine made by Philippe Cambie (former winemaker at Chateau Rayas), has just launched in Australia, eagerly welcomed from the rapidly modernising region of France. The Heredita Cotes Du Rhone 2019 has a brooding nose of garrigue herbs and dusty, chalky earth. The palate has a great mix of plush primary fruits and earthy spices. Better yet, excellently balanced alcohol and chewy tannins round out the finish and brings you back for more. Ready for drinking now or cellaring, either way, you won’t be disappointed.

More info

Cotes du Rhone, Rhone Valley, France Available from 20 August 2019 24.99

Ascheri Langhe Nebbiolo 2017

We already know that Italian wine is good, but this drop is seriously good. To thank for this brilliance is Dottore Matteo Ascheri, a fifth generation owner and winemaker from Piedmont, Italy. Blending declassified Barolo fruit from his family’s three vineyards, this wine has an emphasis on the elegance and softness of the fruit. From the first pour, the aroma of an elegant bouquet filled with a selection of spicy florals fills the air, followed by the velvety notes of violet and rose upon taste. Don’t cellar this one as this persistent and soft wine with a dry palate is ready to drink now.

More info

Barolo, Piedmont, Italy Available from September 2019 44.99

Ascheri Barolo 2015

Another splash from Dottore Matteo Ascheri – the older, more sophisticated and exclusive brother to the Ascheri Langhe Nebbiolo. The Ascheri Barolo 2015 is a rich and complex combination of sweet spices, dried flowers, leather and undergrowth. Each flavour tantalises the tongue and works harmoniously, with elegant tannins and the right balance. Don’t miss out: only 30 dozen bottles are available.

More info

Barolo, Piedmont, Italy Available from September 2019 84.99

Val D'Astier One Maures Provence Rose 2018

Never has a rosé looked this pretty. The perfect pale salmon colour is created from the blend of grenache, cinsault, syrah and a splash of ugni blanc. Made from the prestigious subregion of Maures – the southernmost tip of the Gulf of St Tropez, this rosé is light and refreshing. With an attractive scent of strawberry, redcurrant and violets backed by a hint of Provencal lavender, the feather-light rose (only 12% alcohol) is a great drop for the warmer months or to accompany a light meal.

More info

Provence, France Available from 20 August 2019 25.00

Le Versant 'Vin De Pays D'Oc' Pinot Noir 2017

When you think pinot, you think light and a little subtle. Le Versant ‘Vin de Pays D’OC’ changes that with a strong and aromatic scent of red fruits mixed with liquorice notes. The pinot noir is medium-bodied, with earthy raspberry fruit and fine tannins. Each sip is smooth and provides a generous mouthfeel. If you need further convincing, the winery that produces this drop were named ‘Cooperative Winery of the Year 2012’ by Revue du Vin de France – the largest magazine in the French wine industry. Listen to the French – they know good wine.

More info

Languedoc Roussillon, France Available from 27 August 2019 24.99

Renzo Masi Basciano Chianti Riserva Docg 2016

Now to one of our favourite wine regions in the world – the Chianti region. This winner of the gold medal at the Mundus Vini Grand International Wine Awards for Meininger’s magazine in 2018, is an absolute must-try. With a scent of complex earthy spices and a more obvious oak character, the quality is clear. The Renzo Masi Basciano Chianti Riserva Docg 2016 has been aged for sixteen months in 40% new French Barriques. On the palate, there is morello cherry, black olive, fresh and lively acidity, chalky but yielding tannins and a lovely round finish. There are small hints of rustic earthiness, but overall, the wine is very clean and modern in style.

More info

Chianti, Tuscany, Italy Available from late September/October 2019 29.99

Tempest Cove Pinot Gris 2018

This one’s exclusive. Only made for our friends at United Cellars, by Miles Dineen of Matahiwi Estate using carefully selected fruit, this wine is perfect for summer. The smell of big, beautiful apricot and elderflower fill the air, followed by notes of citrus summer fruit, stone fruit and citrus blossom. It is a well-balanced wine with creamy textures of pear drops, lychee and Nashi pear, tied together with a citrus zest acidity.

More info

Wairarapa, NZ Available from September 2019 24.99

Ash Ridge 'Premium' Syrah 2016

If you’re after an award-winning winery, Ash Ridge is for you, as well as the Ash Ridge Premium Syrah 2016, one of their best if you ask us. 99% Syrah and 1% Viognier, this wine has been aged for 15 months in 20% new oak barrels to create its unique and delectable taste. It’s unfined and unfiltered. The scent consists of deep, elegant red fruit aromas of cherry, boysenberry and vanilla. The mouth-filling flavours have great depth, especially the blackberry, plum and boysenberry. The soft, drying tannins with a pepper and cinnamon complexity make for a drop worth drinking.

More info

Hawkes Bay, NZ Available Now 29.99
Feature Image via Unsplash. Photographed by Rodrigo Abreu