2019 Classic Wines of New Zealand

A bumper crop of 24 new Potential Classics, 18 new Classics and 8 new Super 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.

Some wines on the classics list are not reviewed every year. If a wine is not currently on sale, this generally reflects a lack of favourable weather in recent vintages.

A few producers praised by some critics have not sent samples in recent years, despite regular invitations, and so have not been considered for inclusion on the list of New Zealand wine classics. These include Bell Hill, Escarpment, Kusuda, Marisco, No 1, Schubert and TWR.

Every wine critic finds some producers escape their nets – no matter how widely and often they are cast. Some of these wineries went quiet after reviews were less enthusiastic than they may have anticipated; others may be wary of truly independent reviewers.

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; Clos de Ste Anne Naboth’s Vineyard; Dry River; Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough; Kumeu River Estate; Kumeu River Hunting Hill; Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard; Neudorf Moutere; Sacred Hill Riflemans; Te Mata Elston; Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern

Gewürztraminer

***Dry River Lovat Vineyard; Johanneshof Marlborough; Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough

Pinot Gris

Dry River

Riesling

***Carrick Bannockburn; Dry River Craighall Vineyard; Dry River Craighall Vineyard Selection; Felton Road Bannockburn; Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley

Sauvignon Blanc

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

Sweet Whites

Forrest Estate Botrytised Riesling; ***Framingham Noble Riesling; Villa Maria Reserve Noble Riesling

Bottle-fermented Sparklings

Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Blanc de Blancs; Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough

Branded and Other Red Wines

Church Road Tom; Craggy Range Le Sol; Esk Valley Heipipi The Terraces; ***Puriri Hills Reserve; Stonyridge Larose; Te Mata Coleraine

Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant Reds

***Te Mata Awatea Cabernets/Merlot; ***Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

Merlot

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

Pinot Noir

Ata Rangi; Dry River; Felton Road Block 3; Felton Road Block 5; Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough; Neudorf Moutere; Pegasus Bay; Pegasus Bay Prima Donna; ***Rippon Tinker’s Field Mature Vine; Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough

Syrah

***Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels; Passage Rock Reserve; Te Mata Estate Bullnose; Trinity Hill Homage Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay

Classics

Chardonnay

Babich Irongate; Church Road Tom; Cloudy Bay; Dog Point Vineyard; Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve; Felton Road Block 2; Greenhough Hope Vineyard; **Greywacke Marlborough; Pegasus Bay; Seresin Reserve; Te Whau Vineyard Waiheke Island; **Vidal Legacy Hawke’s Bay; **Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay; Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough

Chenin Blanc

Millton Te Arai Vineyard

Gewürztraminer

Pegasus Bay; Vinoptima Ormond Reserve

Pinot Gris

Greystone Waipara; Neudorf Moutere; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon

Rosé Wines

**Terra Sancta Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé

Sauvignon Blanc

**Auntsfield Single Vineyard Southern Valleys; Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘B’ Brancott Marlborough; Clos Henri Marlborough; Greywacke Wild; Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough; **Pegasus Bay Sauvignon/Semillon; 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

**Alpha Domus AD Noble Selection; Framingham F Series Riesling Trocken-beerenauslese; Pegasus Bay Encore Noble Riesling

Bottle-fermented Sparklings

Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Brut NV; Deutz Marlborough Prestige Cuvée; Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle Vintage Blanc de Blancs

Branded and Other Red Wines

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

Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant Reds

Babich Irongate Cabernet/Merlot/Franc; Brookfields Reserve Vintage [‘Gold Label’] Cabernet/Merlot; **Vidal Legacy Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

Pinot Noir

Akarua Central Otago; Bannock Brae Central Otago; **Burn Cottage Burn Cottage Vineyard; Carrick Bannockburn Central Otago; Dog Point Vineyard Marlborough; Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago; Felton Road Cornish Point Central Otago; Fromm Fromm Vineyard; Gibbston Valley Le Maitre; Gibbston Valley Reserve; Grasshopper Rock Earnscleugh Vineyard; Greenhough Hope Vineyard; Palliser Estate; Pisa Range Estate Black Poplar Block; Quartz Reef Bendigo Estate Single Ferment; Quartz Reef Bendigo Estate Single Vineyard; **Rippon ‘Rippon’ Mature Vine Central Otago; Valli Bannockburn Vineyard Central Otago; **Valli Gibbston Vineyard Central Otago; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Marlborough; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough

Syrah

**Brookfields Hillside; Church Road Grand Reserve Hawke’s Bay; **Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Vineyard; La Collina; Mills Reef Elspeth; Sacred Hill
Deerstalkers Hawke’s Bay; Stonecroft Gimblett Gravels Reserve; Stonyridge Pilgrim Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache; **Vidal Legacy Hawke’s Bay; Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay

Potential Classics

Branded and Other White Wines

Seresin Chiaroscuro

Chardonnay

*Auntsfield Cob Cottage Southern Valleys Marlborough; Auntsfield Single Vineyard Southern Valleys Marlborough; *Bilancia Hawke’s Bay; Carrick Cairnmuir Terraces EBM; *Elephant Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay; *Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago; Greystone Erin’s Waipara Valley; Kumeu River Coddington; Mahi Twin Valleys Marlborough; Mission Jewelstone; Nautilus Marlborough; Pyramid Valley Vineyards Lion’s Tooth; Spy Valley Envoy Marlborough; Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels [Black Label]; *Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass

Chenin Blanc

Clos de Ste Anne La Bas

Gewürztraminer

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

Pinot Gris

Blackenbrook Vineyard Nelson; Church Road McDonald Series; *Georges Road Selection; Greywacke Marlborough; Misha’s Vineyard Dress Circle; Seresin Marlborough; Spy Valley Envoy Marlborough

Riesling

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

Sauvignon Blanc

Church Road Grand Reserve; Churton Marlborough; Clos Marguerite Marlborough; Dog Point Marlborough; Giesen Marlborough The August; Greywacke Marlborough; Hans Herzog Sur Lie; Seresin Marama; Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Marlborough

Sweet White Wines

Felton Road Block 1 Riesling; Framingham F Series Riesling Auslese; Framingham Select Riesling; Pegasus Bay Aria Late Harvest Riesling

 Branded and Other Red Wines

*Clearview Enigma; Clearview Old Olive Block; Clearview The Basket Press; Destiny Bay Destinae; Frenchman’s Hill Estate Blood Creek 8; Gillman; Messenger; *Mission Jewelstone Gimblett Gravels Antoine; Obsidian Reserve The Obsidian

Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant Reds

Church Road McDonald Series Cabernet Sauvignon; Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon; Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet/Merlott

Malbec

Stonyridge Luna Negra Waiheke Island Hillside

Merlot

Church Road McDonald Series Hawke’s Bay; *Elephant Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Malbec; Hans Herzog Spirit of Marlborough Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon

Montepulciano

Hans Herzog Marlborough; Obsidian Waiheke Island

Pinot Noir

Amisfield Central Otago; *Black Estate Damsteep North Canterbury; Carrick Excelsior Central Otago; *Cloudy Bay Te Wahi Central Otago; Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Martinborough; Doctors Flat Central Otago; Felton Road Calvert Central Otago; Gibbston Valley China Terrace Bendigo; Gibbston Valley School House Central Otago; Greystone Thomas Brothers; *Greywacke Marlborough; Lowburn Ferry Home Block; *Misha’s Vineyard The High Note Central Otago; Mondillo Central Otago; *Mount Edward Central Otago; *Mt Difficulty Single Vineyard Long Gully; Nautilus Four Barriques Marlborough; Peregrine Central Otago; *Prophet’s Rock Home Vineyard Central Otago; Rockburn Central Otago; *Rockburn The Art Central Otago; *Tarras Vineyards The Canyon Single Vineyard; Tatty Bogler Central Otago; Terra Sancta Jackson’s Block; *Two Paddocks Central Otago; *Two Paddocks Proprietor’s Reserve The Fusilier Bannockburn Vineyard; Two Paddocks Proprietor’s Reserve The Last Chance Earnscleugh Vineyard; *Urlar Select Parcels; *Valli Bendigo Vineyard Central Otago; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Marlborough; Wooing Tree Central Otago; *Wooing Tree Sandstorm Reserve Single Vineyard

Syrah

Awaroa Melba Peach Waiheke Island; Church Road McDonald Series; Clos de Ste Anne The Crucible; Elephant Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay; Man O’ War Dreadnought; Mission Huchet; Mission Jewelstone; Passage Rock; Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay; Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay

Tempranillo

*Hans Herzog

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, Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gisborne; Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay; Villa Maria Cellar Selection 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 Marl-borough; Villa Maria Cellar Selection 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 Cellar Selection Marlborough