Classic Wines of New Zealand 2020

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

Millton Te 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