Classic Wines of New Zealand 2019


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

Riesling

Carrick Josephine
**Framingham Classic
**Misha’s Vineyard Limelight; Rippon

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