Classification of New Zealand wine

An exciting new wine classification has been launched. The Real Review Wine Classification comprises the greatest wines of New Zealand and Australia with an outstanding track record of a decade or longer. Each wine has demonstrated its quality in blind tastings over a period of at least ten years.

The classification is a comprehensive, independent, and purely based on quality. 

The chart above shows the current classification of Central Otago Pinot Noir.

This is a dynamic classification built up over ten years of a wine brand. The long history required of any wine to be considered for classification means it is a classification buyers can trust. 

The classification does not classify the winery, the vineyard, or the location, only the named wine is classified. For example, Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir is a 3 Merit wine, not the winery or the vineyard.

The Real Review Wine Classification of New Zealand wine is not the first such classification, but it is a valuable addition. The longest established wine classification is Michael Cooper’s Classic Wines of New Zealand. More recently, the Air New Zealand Fine Wines of New Zealand list made a valuable contribution to NZ wine classification but unfortunately it was discontinued in 2020. The table below attempts to compare the three classifications of New Zealand wines.

The Real Review classification states “It will be updated annually, to admit wines that are rising in quality, wines that are relatively new and still establishing the requisite number of releases (10 is the minimum for vintage wines), but once a wine qualifies for a classification, it will hold its level for at least four years before any demotion may occur”.

The classification has three levels:

MMM or 3 Merit – Iconic wines of true provenance and exemplary track record. Fewer than 0.5% of wines produced achieve this tier. Most of these wines have received gold ribbons for recent vintages. Top vintages will score 98 points or more.

MM or 2 Merit – Wines that achieve gold and high silver ribbons in recent vintages, with top vintages achieving 96 points or more. (Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir is classified as a 2 Merit wine)

M or 1 Merit – Wines that reliably achieve gold and silver ribbons in recent vintages, with top vintages achieving 95 points or more.

The inaugural classification includes approximately 300 New Zealand wines. Pinot Noir dominates the top echelons with 9 out of 25 of the Three Merit wines. 

Comparing individual Central Otago Pinot Noir across the three classifications systems referred to above, we see good consistency but also some omissions. The comparison list compiled below is Central Otago Pinot Noir with either a Merit classification or a Fine Wines of NZ listing. If the wine was not included in one of these two classifications it is not listed. There are  wines missing from the classification which likely merit inclusion but they have not submitted sufficient vintages for assessment. Over time it is likely these gaps will be filled.

The Real Review classification is going to become very valuable to buyers. 

The full Real Review Classification and associated articles can be found at: https://www.therealreview.com/...


This product has been added to your cart