Kumeu River chardonnays

Michael Brajkovich MW of Kumeu River. (Photo: Kumeu River Wines)

Attention to detail in the vineyard and thoughtful winemaking has produced consistent top end chardonnays from this long-established family wine producer in Kumeu. Regular inclusion in Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 wines of the world has given Kumeu River chardonnay a high profile in the US, this country’s largest international wine market. They are no less famous in Britain where four Kumeu River Chardonnays beat a raft of significantly more expensive white burgundies in a blind tasting a few years ago.

Kumeu River have bought a promising vineyard in Hawke’s Bay and plan to produce a single vineyard wine from Hawke’s Bay in due course.

After making wine exclusively from Auckland-grown grapes, apart from a few vintages of Marlborough sauvignon blanc, Kumeu River have bought a promising vineyard in Hawke’s Bay and plan to produce a single vineyard wine from Hawke’s Bay in due course. The Village Chardonnay from 2017 already includes a portion of Hawke’s Bay grapes.

The 2017 Kumeu River Village Chardonnay from Kumeu and Hawke’s Bay is a consistently good value and quite stylish chardonnay that’s a popular “house wine”, at least in my household. You can buy nearly four bottles for the cost of a single bottle of their flagship chardonnay Maté’s Vineyard – a significantly more concentrated and complex wine, although it’s not four times better. (NZD $18)

Kumeu River’s 2017 Estate Chardonnay is another favourite in my house when I’m feeling like a rather more serious wine with more oak influence than the Village Chardonnay. Careful selection has resulted in a wine that is a cut above many from this challenging vintage. (NZD $32)

The 2017 Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay is from a single vineyard that typically shows ripe tree fruit flavours, although I thought the wine had a stronger floral and citrus influence in 2017. A concentrated wine that promises to age well. (NZD $50)

Kumeu River’s 2017 Hunting Hill Chardonnay is another single vineyard wine that makes tighter, more burgundy-style chardonnay than Coddington, often with a noticeable mineral, wet stone character. A concentrated, linear wine with an impressively lingering finish. (NZD $60)

Finally, the 2017 Maté’s Vineyard Chardonnay is the most concentrated wine in the range, thanks at least in part to Mendoza clone vines, with a percentage of small berries that give extra concentration. Good now but with the potential to develop well with bottle age. (NZD $70)

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