Often referred to as the “Montrachet” of New Zealand, Kumeu River is a truly great producer of world class, age worthy Chardonnay available at more than fair prices. Curiously, the vineyards are are located in a suburb of Auckland where urban development is encroaching apace.
In 1990, Maté Brajkovich reworked the land and planted a new vineyard of Chardonnay vines on the site of the original vineyard that he and his family purchased in March 1944. The first grapes from this vineyard were harvested in March 1993, the year following Maté’s death. The resulting wine was released in November 1994 to coincide with celebrations marking the Fiftieth Anniver-sary of the Brajkovich Family’s arrival at Kumeu River.
Fast forward today! Top critics participated in a 2018 retrospective blind tasting of 48 bottles of Kumeu River Chardonnay, going back to the 2006 vintage. The results were a remarkable demonstration of the consistent high quality, longevity, and striking cool-climate style of this producer. Not one wine was past its prime. Not one wine suffered of premox. Every wine was rated 90 points or more. “We’ve been making this style of chardonnay since 1985,” says Paul Brajkovich. However, there are a number of important differences in winemaking to the norm in Burgundy. “Our grapes are always whole-cluster pressed, undergo wild fermentation and spend 11 months on the full lees in 20-25% new French oak.”
The 2.6-hectare dry farmed Mate’s Vineyard, named after Mate Brajkovich, the father of winemaker Michael and his brother Paul, is the oldest of Kumeu River’s chardonnay plantings dating back to 1990. Hand selected and hand picked, Mate’s Vineyard always produces the most concentrated and powerful wine in the portfolio, but always balanced with a life line of vibrant acidity and distinctive minerality.
In addition to Kumeu River Estate, other great Kumeu River single vineyard designated Chardonnay include Coddington, Hunting Hill, and Rays Road. Click here more information!
Last year the 2020 Mate’s proved to be James Suckling #1 – 2021 Wine of the Year, not just for New Zealand, but world wide……after tasting southern hemisphere wines in September (over 800 alone in New Zealand), the 2021 Kumeu River Mate’s was ranked #1 at 99 points, and just might just be a back-to-back successor!!
“Lots of minerality with crushed stone, chalk, white grapefruit, peach stones, white apricots, wild herbs and lavender. Touch of cedar. Evolves to nutmeg and crushed almonds. Wow. It really builds on the palate, leading to a crescendo and intensity that blows your mind. Compact and phenolic, yet so agile and refined. Goes on for minutes. Drink or hold. Screw cap.” – 99 points – James Suckling