The “Great” NZ Pinot Classification list???

Mathew Juke (UK) and Tyson Stelzer (Aus) have published their Great NZ Pinot Noir Classification 2011. As I scan the list I am left wondering what this list is really all about.


Based on “a rolling average rating of the five most recent vintages” the list is not supported by tasting notes/scores. Unfortunately for Juke and Stelzer the list has a number of wineries that really don’t rate as highly today as they have placed them and I am left thinking they are out of touch with what is really happening with NZ Pinot Noir. Based on their methodology the “list” may be correct but it really is an historical list. It is not clear if the list is of wines, vineyards/estates or wineries.

“Do NZ pinot producers need to be classified in this way? Strange choices.” Jane Skilton MW said on Twitter @janeskiltonMW

Tim Atkin MW published a simple list of 25 world-class Pinot Noir producers in a 2010 article and presents a more credible list without the star classification.


Michael Cooper’s Classic Wines of New Zealand is much more credible. Although last published in 2005 all wines are re-tasted and notes and scores published. Cooper does update his Classics list in the annual Wine Buyers Guide.

Juke and Stelzer:
“This list is not compiled to meet a particular number, but it just so happens that there are now precisely 100 New Zealand estates producing this mesmerising grape variety at a level of excellence that we believe is worthy of your attention”

“The Fourth Great New Zealand Pinot Noir Classification was developed by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer to highlight the importance of New Zealand’s finest Pinot Noirs. The classification is awarded based on a rolling average rating of the five most recent vintages”

The classification ends with a quote from Wine NZ (I presume that is the magazine Wine NZ): “This is one of the most intelligent assessments on the state of New Zealand Pinot Noir – Wine NZ

Bollocks, there is nothing remotely intelligent about the assessment. Of course everyone would agree Ata Rangi and Felton Road should be at the top part of the list.



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