Kumeu River, Auckland, New Zealand

Kumeu River is one of the 10 or 12 estates we started off with in 2013. Year in year out, their wines, starting from the village and going all the way to the top with Mate’s Vineyard, are compelling in their own right. Frankly, it is also their relatively low price for fine Chardonnay, that have made it possible for listings in almost all gastronomic hotels and restaurants in Thailand. (Below credit NZ Wine Blogger)

Kumeu River line up (credit NZ Wine Blogger)The Brajkovich family is very much involved in every aspect of the family estate, with each of the four children sharing responsibility for winemaking (Michael, 1st Master of Wine in New Zealand), viticulture (Milan), sales (Paul) and tasting room plus activities, events (Marijana), while Mother Melba continues as Managing Director, and is one of the longest standing female executives in the industry. (Below credit Kumeu River)

Family Shot

Every year, sometimes in SFO, then in London, there is a panel tasting hosted by industry captains and fine wine writers, where the Coddington is pitted against village wines from the Cote d’Or, the Hunting Hill against 1er Cru vineyard wines, and the Mate’s against Grand Cru level. Surprise, surprise, they keep getting voted into one of the top ranks. Sadly our rotation here is quick, and we don’t have enough stock of the single vineyard wines to put down and taste after 5-6 years; am certain the reward is immense. (Below credit Pic Bear)

Kumeu River line up (credit pic bear)

The vineyard is only 50 meters above sea level with both warm and cooling influence depending winds from either the Tasman Sea or Pacific Ocean. Similar to the Cote d’Or the vines grow on clay with overlying sandstone, with vines aged 5-55 years. The trained lyre system helps prevent sunburn from high UV in New Zealand, there is no irrigation.

Try this Estate bottling, which is at the core of the range, and see how close New Zealand Chardonnay can resemble a Bourgogne Blanc. Then later you might want to opt for the villages bottle as your everyday white wine, or venture into the nuanced single vineyard on special occasions. This one goes very well with richer seafood or poultry, and even spicy Thai curries. Decant for 30 minutes when young to allow the fruit to balance in to minerality.

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“Still a Kiwi classic, Kumeu River’s 2016 Estate Chardonnay features toasted grain aromas, ripe peach and nectarine flavors and a long, citrus-inflected finish. It’s medium-bodied, with a plump, silky texture and up to a decade of aging potential.” 91 points Wine Advocate

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