The classification is based on the authors’ tastings in New Zealand, Australia and London, with well over 1,000 wines assessed. Jukes and Stelzer make the effort of contacting any Pinot Noir producer in New Zealand whose wines they have not come across and tasted, to obtain samples. Clearly the classification is based on what they have tasted, and is thus not truly comprehensive. However, I see it as a pretty fine effort. Few other people in the world would have put so much effort in doing this, let alone have tasted so many wines. I’d imagine Bob Campbell MW may have tasted more, and one can determine his picks as the best. Similarly for Michael Cooper, who does have a classification system. There are a number of other critics who have put forward their picks as well. I don’t think I’ve tasted enough to make a more definitive list apart from stating a number who have made top wines now and over the years that I enjoy!
The English and Australian outlook of Jukes and Stelzer is thus very desirable. I’ve seen these two writers work, most recently at the Pinot Noir 2013 conference, and they work like demons possessed. They are truly focussed individuals, who have acutely discerning palates, which I generally agree with! Their work ethic is admirable, and their breadth of experience and insatiable appetite for experiencing wines makes them very important and creditable writers. I say “Bravo!” to what they have done.
I’m sure that Jukes and Stelzer, though very proud of their work over the last six years on their classification would not see their classification as the ‘be all and end all’ of rating New Zealand Pinot Noir. They would see it as their serious approach at putting some order and continued recognition of the finest estates in a country that is producing significant and exciting Pinot Noir wines on the world scene. Agree or disagree, it’s certainly a starting point or talking point, if not accurate and significant guide to what is best, and those aims are admirable. www.matthewjukes.com www.tysonstelzer.com
* * * Click here to view the 2013 Sixth Great New Zealand Pinot Noir Classification and accompanying notes by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer. * * *