2020 Classic Wines of New Zealand

A bumper crop of 61 new Potential Classics, 20 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.

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; ***Church Road Tom; 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

Sauvignon Blanc

Cloudy Bay; Saint Clair Wairau Reserve; Seresin Marlborough; ***Te Mata Cape Crest

Viognier

***Te Mata Zara

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

Craggy Range Le Sol; Esk Valley Heipipi The Terraces; Puriri Hills Harmonie Du Soir; Stonyridge Larose; Te Mata Coleraine

Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant Reds

Church Road Tom Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot; 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; ***Burn Cottage Burn Cottage Vineyard; Dry River; ***Felton Road Bannockburn; Felton Road Block 3; Felton Road Block 5; Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough; Neudorf Moutere; Pegasus Bay; Pegasus Bay Prima Donna; ***Quartz Reef Bendigo Estate Single Ferment; Rippon Tinker’s Field Mature Vine; ***Valli Gibbston Vineyard; Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough

Syrah

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

Classics

Chardonnay

*Alpha Domus AD Hawke’s Bay; Auntsfield Cob Cottage Southern Valleys Marlborough; Auntsfield Single Vineyard Southern Valleys Marlborough; Bilancia Hawke’s Bay; *Boneline, The, Sharkstone Waipara; Carrick Cairnmuir Terraces EBM; *Collaboration Aurulent Hawke’s Bay; Elephant Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay; Greystone Erin’s Reserve; Kumeu River Coddington; *Mills Reef Elspeth Gimblett Gravels; *Pegasus Bay Virtuoso; *Pyramid Valley Vineyards Field of Fire; Spy Valley Envoy Marlborough; Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels [Black Label]; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass

Chenin Blanc

MilltonTe Arai Vineyard

Gewürztraminer

**Greystone Waipara Valley; **Lawson’s Dry Hills The Pioneer Marlborough; Pegasus Bay; **Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard Marlborough; Vinoptima Ormond Reserve

Pinot Gris

Greystone Waipara; Neudorf Moutere; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon

Riesling

Carrick Josephine; **Felton Road Dry; Framingham Classic; Misha’s Vineyard Limelight; **Misha’s Vineyard Lyric; Rippon

Sauvignon Blanc

Auntsfield Single Vineyard Southern Valleys; Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘B’ Brancott Marlborough; Clos Henri Marlborough; **Dog Point Vineyard Marlborough; **Greywacke Marlborough; Greywacke Wild; Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough; Pegasus Bay Sauvignon/Sémillon; Staete Landt Annabel Marlborough; Villa Maria Reserve Clifford Bay; Villa Maria Reserve Wairau Valley

Viognier

Clos de Ste Anne Les Arbres

Sweet Whites

Alpha Domus AD Noble Selection; Framingham F Series Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese; Pegasus Bay Encore Noble Riesling

Bottle-fermented Sparklings

Deutz Marlborough Prestige Cuvée; Quartz Reef MéthodeTraditionnelle [Vintage]

Rosé

Terra Sancta Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé

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; **Gillman; **Mission Jewelstone Gimblett Gravels Antoine; 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; Carrick Bannockburn Central Otago; **Doctors Flat Central Otago; Dog Point Vineyard Marlborough; 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; **Prophet’s Rock Home Vineyard Central Otago; Quartz Reef Bendigo Estate Single Vineyard; Rippon ‘Rippon’ Mature Vine Central Otago; **Two Paddocks Central Otago; Valli Bannockburn Vineyard Central Otago; **Valli Bendigo 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; **Mission Jewelstone Hawke’s Bay; Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Hawke’s Bay; Stonyridge Pilgrim Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache; Vidal Legacy Hawke’s Bay; Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay

Tempranillo

**Hans Herzog Marlborough

Potential Classics

Albariño

*Nautilus Marlborough; *Villa Maria Single Vineyard Braided Gravels Hawke’s Bay

Chardonnay

*Alpha Domus AD Hawke’s Bay; Auntsfield Cob Cottage Southern Valleys Marlborough; Auntsfield Single Vineyard Southern Valleys Marlborough; Bilancia Hawke’s Bay; *Boneline, The, Sharkstone Waipara; Carrick Cairnmuir Terraces EBM; *Collaboration Aurulent Hawke’s Bay; Elephant Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay; Greystone Erin’s Reserve; Kumeu River Coddington; *Mills Reef Elspeth Gimblett Gravels; *Pegasus Bay Virtuoso; *Pyramid Valley Vineyards Field of Fire; Spy Valley Envoy Marlborough; Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels [Black Label]; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass

Chenin Blanc

*Astrolabe Wrekin Vineyard; Clos de Ste Anne La Bas

Gewürztraminer

Seifried Winemaker’s Collection Nelson; Stonecroft Old Vine; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao

Pinot Gris

Georges Road Selection; Greywacke Marlborough; *Hans Herzog Marlborough; Misha’s Vineyard Dress Circle; Spy Valley Envoy Marlborough

Riesling

Framingham F-Series Old Vine; Greystone Waipara Valley; Greywacke Marlborough; *Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry; *Prophet’s Rock Central Otago Dry; Saint Clair Pioneer Block 9 Big John

Sauvignon Blanc

*Astrolabe Vineyards Taihoa Vineyard Marlborough; *Babich Winemakers’ Reserve Barrel Fermented Marlborough; Church Road Grand Reserve; *Churton Best End Marlborough; Churton Marlborough; Clos Marguerite Marlborough; *Fairbourne Marlborough; *Folium Reserve Marlborough; Hans Herzog Sur Lie; *Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve; *Mahi Marlborough; Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Marlborough; *Whitehaven Greg Awatere Vineyard Single Vineyard

Sweet Whites

*Esk Valley Late Harvest Chenin Blanc; Felton Road Block 1 Riesling; Framingham F Series Riesling Auslese; Framingham Select Riesling; *Mondillo Nina; Pegasus Bay Aria Late Harvest Riesling; *Pegasus Bay Finale Noble Barrique Matured Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon; *Riverby Estate Marlborough Noble Riesling; *Seifried Winemaker’s Collection Sweet Agnes Nelson Riesling

Bottle-fermented Sparklings

Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV; *Daniel Le Brun Blanc de Blancs Méthode Traditionnelle; *Daniel Le Brun Vintage Méthode Traditionnelle; *Hunter’s Miru Miru Reserve; *Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Vintage Rosé

Branded and Other Red Wines

Clearview Enigma; Clearview Old Olive Block; Clearview The Basket Press; Destiny Bay Destinae; *Elephant Hill Hieronymus; Frenchman’s Hill Estate Blood Creek 8; Messenger; Obsidian Reserve The Obsidian; *Passage Rock Magnus

Cabernet Franc

*Clearview Reserve Hawke’s Bay

Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant Reds

*Awaroa Requiem Waiheke Island Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec; Church Road McDonald Series Cabernet Sauvignon; Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet/Merlot; Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon; *Stonecroft Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon

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

Montepulcianos

Hans Herzog Marlborough

Pinot Noir

*Akarua The Siren Bannockburn; *Akitu A1 Central Otago; *Alexander Martinborough; Amisfield Central Otago; *Amisfield RKV Reserve Central Otago; *Auntsfield Heritage Marlborough; *Auntsfield Single Vineyard Southern Valleys Marlborough; Black Estate Damsteep North Canterbury; *Burn Cottage Valli Vineyard Gibbston; Carrick Excelsior Central Otago; Cloudy Bay Te Wahi Central Otago; *Coal Pit Tiwha Central Otago; Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Martinborough; Felton Road Calvert Central Otago; *Folding Hill Bendigo Central Otago; *Folium Reserve Marlborough; *Fromm Cuvée ‘H’ Marlborough; Gibbston Valley China Terrace Bendigo; Gibbston Valley School House Central Otago; Greystone Thomas Brothers; *Greystone Waipara Valley Canterbury; Greywacke Marlborough; Lowburn Ferry Home Block; *Maude Mt Maude Vineyard Wanaka Reserve; Misha’s Vineyard The High Note Central Otago; *Mondillo Bella Reserve; Mondillo Central Otago; Mount Edward Central Otago; *Mt Difficulty Bannockburn; Mt Difficulty Single Vineyard Long Gully; Mt Difficulty Single Vineyard Pipeclay Terrace; Nautilus Four Barriques Marlborough; *Nga Waka Martinborough Lease Block; Peregrine Central Otago; *Rippon Emma’s Block; Rockburn Central Otago; Rockburn The Art Central Otago; *Rock Ferry Trig Hill Vineyard; *Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard Waihopai Valley; Tarras Vineyards The Canyon Single Vineyard; *Te Kairanga John Martin Martinborough; Terra Sancta Jackson’s Block; *Terra Sancta Slapjack Block Bannockburn; Two Paddocks Proprietor’s Reserve The Fusilier Bannockburn Vineyard; Two Paddocks Proprietor’s Reserve The Last Chance Earnscleugh Vineyard; Urlar Select Parcels; *Valli Burn Cottage Central Otago; Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Marlborough; *Whitehaven Greg Southern Valleys Single Vineyard; Wooing Tree Central Otago; Wooing Tree Sandstorm Reserve Single Vineyard

Syrah

Awaroa Melba Peach Waiheke Island; Church Road McDonald Series; *Church Road Tom; Clos de Ste Anne The Crucible; *Elephant Hill Airavata; Elephant Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay; *Fromm Syrah Fromm Vineyard; Man O’ War Dreadnought; Mission Huchet; Passage Rock; Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay