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Kumeu River chardonnay releases

Kumeu River chardonnay juice in tank

Kumeu River chardonnay juice in tank (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

This year’s Kumeu River new release tasting included a new face – Kumeu Cremant NV Brut, a very agreeable sparkling blend of pinot noir and chardonnay that has benefited from several years on its yeasty lees. It’s fresh and deliciously drinkable. I haven’t formerly reviewed the wine because my sample was savoured in a social situation.

However, I did get to review the four 2015 Kumeu River chardonnays in the confines of my tasting room. Frost affected vines meant that quantity was down in 2015 while acidity levels were elevated, although winemaker Michael Brajkovich MW is not exactly sure why.

The price-friendliest chardonnay in the group, Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2015 (NZD $30) had the most prominent acidity with Chablis-like edgy acid and minerality. It rattled my fillings in the tasting room, although I imagine it would make a cracking match with freshly shucked Bluff oysters and a squeeze of lime.

Kumeu River Coddington 2015 (NZD $50) is described on the back label as “rich and unctuous” which is exactly what I expect from this label. Although this latest release certainly had the usual tree fruit flavours, they were slightly greener than the norm and were supported by fairly aggressive acidity.

I expected that the usually tight, crisp Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2015 (NZD $60) might be excessively austere this vintage but that wasn’t the case. I liked it very much and expect that it will offer even more with bottle age.

The flagship chardonnay, Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 (NZD $65), is certainly the most impressive wine in the group, although, like the others, it will need time to reach its full potential. Certainly the most complex wine.

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