2017 Classic Wines of New Zealand

A bumper crop of six new Super Classics, 17 Classics and 33 Potential Classics are the features of this year’s closely revised list of New Zealand wine classics.

What is a New Zealand wine classic? It is a wine that in quality terms consistently ranks in the very forefront of its class. To qualify for selection, each label must have achieved an outstanding level of quality for at least three vintages; there are no flashes in the pan here.

By identifying New Zealand wine classics, my aim is to transcend the inconsistencies of individual vintages and wine competition results, and highlight consistency of excellence. When introducing the elite category of Super Classics, I restricted entry to wines which have achieved brilliance in at least five vintages (compared to three for Classic status). The Super Classics are all highly prestigious wines, with a proven ability to mature well (even the Sauvignon Blancs, compared to other examples of the variety).

The Potential Classics are the pool from which future Classics will emerge. These are wines of outstanding quality which look likely, if their current standards are maintained or improved, to qualify after another vintage or two for elevation to Classic status. All the additions and elevations on this year’s list are identified by an asterisk.

 

***New Super Classic   **New Classic  *New Potential Classic

Super Classics

Branded and Other White Wines

Cloudy Bay Te Koko, ***Dog Point Vineyard Section 94

Chardonnay

Ata Rangi Craighall; Church Road Grand Reserve Hawke’s Bay; Clearview Reserve Hawke’s Bay; Clos de Ste Anne Naboth’s Vineyard; ***Dry River Martinborough; Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough; Kumeu River Estate; ***Kumeu River Hunting Hill; Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard Kumeu; Neudorf Moutere; Sacred Hill Riflemans; Te Mata Elston; Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne; ***Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawke’s Bay

Gewürztraminer

Johanneshof Cellars Marlborough; Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough

Pinot Gris

Dry River Martinborough

Riesling

Dry River Craighall Vineyard Martinborough; Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago; Pegasus Bay

Sauvignon Blanc

Cloudy Bay; Palliser Estate Martinborough; Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Marlborough; Seresin Marlborough

Sweet Whites

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection

Bottle-fermented Sparklings

Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Blanc de Blancs; Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough

Branded and Other Red Wines

Craggy Range Le Sol; Esk Valley Heipipi The Terraces; Stonyridge Larose; Te Mata Coleraine

Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant Reds

***Church Road Tom Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

Merlot

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot-predominant blend; Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay

Pinot Noir

Ata Rangi; Dry River Martinborough; Felton Road Block 3 Central Otago; Felton Road Block 5; Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough; Neudorf Moutere; Pegasus Bay Prima Donna; Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley; Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough

Syrah

***Passage Rock Reserve Waiheke Island; Te Mata Estate Bullnose; Trinity Hill Homage Hawke’s Bay

Classics

Chardonnay

Babich Irongate; **Church Road Tom; Cloudy Bay; Dog Point Vineyard; Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve; **Felton Road Block 2 Central Otago; **Greenhough Hope Vineyard; Martinborough Vineyard; Pegasus Bay; Seresin Reserve; Te Whau Vineyard Waiheke Island; Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough

Chenin Blanc

Millton Te Arai Vineyard

Gewürztraminer

**Dry River Lovat Vineyard; Framingham Marlborough; **Pegasus Bay; Vinoptima Ormond Reserve

Pinot Gris

Greystone Waipara Valley; Neudorf Moutere; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Marlborough

Riesling

*Carrick Bannockburn; Neudorf Moutere; Rippon Mature Vine; Valli Old Vine Central Otago

Sauvignon Blanc

Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘B’ Brancott Marlborough; Clos Henri Marlborough; **Greywacke Marlborough Wild; Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough; Staete Landt Annabel Marlborough; Te Mata Cape Crest; Villa Maria Reserve Clifford Bay; Villa Maria Reserve Wairau Valley

Viognier

Clos de Ste Anne Les Arbres; **Te Mata Estate Zara

Sweet Whites

**Framingham F-Series Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese; Framingham Noble Riesling; **Pegasus Bay Encore Noble Riesling

Bottle-fermented Sparklings

Deutz Marlborough Prestige Cuvée; Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle [Vintage]

Branded and Other Red Wines

**Alpha Domus AD The Aviator; Babich The Patriarch; **Craggy Range Aroha; Craggy Range Sophia; Craggy Range The Quarry; Destiny Bay Magna Praemia; **Destiny Bay Mystae; Newton Forrest Estate Cornerstone; Puriri Hills Reserve; Sacred Hill Brokenstone; Sacred Hill Helmsman; Te Whau The Point

Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant Reds

**Babich Irongate Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet/Merlot/Franc; Brookfields Reserve Vintage [‘Gold Label’] Cabernet/Merlot; Te Mata Awatea Cabernets/Merlot; Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

Pinot Noir

Akarua Bannockburn Central Otago; Bannock Brae Central Otago; Carrick Bannockburn Central Otago; Dog Point Vineyard Marlborough; Escarpment Kupe by Escarpment; Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago; Felton Road Cornish Point Central Otago; Fromm Fromm Vineyard; **Gibbston Valley Le Maitre Central Otago; Gibbston Valley Reserve Central Otago; **Grasshopper Rock Earnscleugh Vineyard Central Otago; Greenhough Hope Vineyard Nelson; Mt Difficulty Single Vineyard Target Gully; Palliser Estate Martinborough; Pisa Range Estate Black Poplar Block; Quartz Reef Bendigo Estate; Quartz Reef Central Otago Single Vineyard; Rippon Tinker’s Field Mature Vine; Valli Bannockburn Vineyard Central Otago; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Marlborough; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough

Syrah

Bilancia La Collina; **Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay; Mills Reef Trust Vineyard Elspeth Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay; Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Hawke’s Bay; **Stonecroft Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Reserve; Stonyridge Pilgrim Waiheke Island Syrah/Mourvedre/Viognier/Grenache; Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay

Potential Classics

Arneis

Clevedon Hills

Branded and Other White Wines

Seresin Chiaroscuro

Chardonnay

*Auntsfield Single Vineyard Southern Valleys Marlborough; Greystone Erin’s Reserve Waipara Valley; *Greywacke Marlborough; Kumeu River Coddington; Mahi Twin Valleys Marlborough; Mission Jewelstone Hawke’s Bay; *Nautilus Marlborough; Pyramid Valley Vineyards Field of Fire; Pyramid Valley Vineyards Lion’s Tooth; Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard Marlborough; Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay [Black Label]; *Vidal Legacy Hawke’s Bay; *Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay; *Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass

Chenin Blanc

*Clos de Ste Anne La Bas

Gewürztraminer

Greystone Waipara Valley; *Lawson’s Dry Hills The Pioneer Marlborough; Seifried Winemaker’s Collection Nelson; Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard Marlborough; *Stonecroft Old Vine; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao

Pinot Gris

Blackenbrook Nelson; *Church Road McDonald Series Hawke’s Bay; Greywacke Marlborough; *Misha’s Vineyard Dress Circle Central Otago; Seresin Marlborough

Riesling

Carrick Josephine Central Otago; *Felton Road Dry; Framingham Classic Marlborough; Framingham F-Series Old Vine Marlborough; Greystone Waipara Valley; Greywacke Marlborough; Misha’s Vineyard Limelight; Misha’s Vineyard Lyric; Muddy Water James Hardwick Waipara; Saint Clair Pioneer Block 9 Big John

Sauvignon Blanc

*Auntsfield Single Vineyard Southern Valleys Marlborough; *Church Road Grand Reserve Barrel Fermented Hawke’s Bay; *Churton Marlborough; *Clos Marguerite Marlborough; *Dog Point Vineyard Marlborough; Giesen Marlborough The August; *Greywacke Marlborough; *Hans Herzog Marlborough Barrel Fermented Sur Lie; Jackson Estate Grey Ghost Barrique Wairau Valley Marlborough; Jackson Estate Stich Marlborough; Pegasus Bay Sauvignon/Sémillon; Seresin Marama; *Villa Maria Single Vineyard Graham Marlborough; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Marlborough

Sweet White Wines

Alpha Domus AD Noble Selection; *Felton Road Block 1 Central Otago Riesling; Framingham F-Series Gewürztraminer VT; *Framingham F Series Riesling Auslese; Framingham Select Marlborough Riesling; Pegasus Bay Aria Late Picked Riesling

Rosé

Terra Sancta Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir

Branded and Other Red Wines

Alluviale; Clearview Old Olive Block; Clearview The Basket Press; *Destiny Bay Destinae; Gillman; Messenger; Obsidian Reserve The Obsidian; Puriri Hills Pope; Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels The Gimblett

Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant Reds

*Church Road McDonald Series Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon; Mills Reef Elspeth Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon; Mills Reef Elspeth Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet/Merlot; *Vidal Legacy Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

Malbec

Stonyridge Luna Negra Waiheke Island Hillside

Merlot

*Church Road McDonald Series Hawke’s Bay; Hans Herzog Spirit of Marlborough Merlot/Cabernet

Montepulciano

Hans Herzog Marlborough; Obsidian Waiheke Island

Pinot Noir

Amisfield Central Otago; Bald Hills Bannockburn Single Vineyard Central Otago; Burn Cottage Central Otago; Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Martinborough; Doctors Flat Central Otago; Escarpment Kiwa by Escarpment Martinborough; Escarpment Martinborough; Escarpment Te Rehua by Escarpment Martinborough; *Felton Road Calvert Central Otago; *Gibbston Valley China Terrace Bendigo Central Otago; Gibbston Valley School House Central Otago; Hans Herzog Marlborough; Julicher Martinborough; *Lowburn Ferry The Ferrymans Reserve; Mondillo Central Otago; Mt Difficulty Single Vineyard Pipeclay Terrace Bannockburn; Muddy Water Slowhand Waipara; Nautilus Four Barriques Marlborough; Peregrine Central Otago; Rockburn Central Otago; Tatty Bogler Otago; Valli Gibbston Vineyard Otago; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Marlborough; Wooing Tree Central Otago

Syrah

Church Road Grand Reserve Hawke’s Bay; *Church Road McDonald Series Hawke’s Bay; Clos de Ste Anne The Crucible; Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Hawke’s Bay; *Man O’ War Waiheke Island Dreadnought; *Mission Huchet Gimblett Gravels; *Mudbrick Vineyard Reserve; Passage Rock; Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels; Vidal Legacy Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay; Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay

The following wines are not at the very forefront in quality terms, yet have been produced for many vintages, are extremely widely available and typically deliver good to excellent quality and value. They are all benchmark wines of their type – a sort of Everyman’s classic.

Chardonnay

Church Road Hawke’s Bay; Stoneleigh Marlborough

Gewürztraminer

Seifried Nelson

Pinot Gris

Waimea Nelson

Riesling

Hunter’s Marlborough; Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough; Seifried Nelson; Waimea Classic Nelson

Sauvignon Blanc

Brancott Estate Marlborough; Oyster Bay Marlborough; Saint Clair Marlborough; Stoneleigh Marlborough; Tohu Marlborough; Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough

Sparkling

Lindauer Brut; Lindauer Special Reserve; Soljans Fusion Sparkling Muscat

Merlot

Church Road Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet/Malbec; Te Mata Estate Vineyards Merlot/Cabernets

Pinot Noir

Akarua Rua Central Otago; Pencarrow Martinborough; Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough