Michael Cooper is New Zealand's most acclaimed wine writer, with nearly 40 books, hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, and several major literary awards to his credit. Considered to be "the bible" of New Zealand wine ratings, his annual publication "Michael Cooper's Buyer's Guide to New Zealand Wines" rates thousands of wines and here we highlight the wines that he, and we, believe to be "the best of the best".
SUPER CLASSIC - Michael restricts entry to this elite Super Classic's category to wines that have achieved brilliance for at least 5 vintages. "The Super Classics are all highly prestigious wines, with a proven ability to mature well (even the Sauvignon Blanc's, compared with other examples of the variety)."
CLASSIC - Michael writes that a New Zealand Classic wine "..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."
POTENTIAL CLASSIC - Michael notes "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."
5 STAR - Michael's "5 Star" rating is given to those wines that he considers are of outstanding quality and Gold Medal status. The rating reflects not only the current vintage but also the overall standard of recent vintages based on comparative assessments of New Zealand wines of the same variety.