Kumeu River Single Vineyard Chardonnays 2020

If you have never tried these wines, then it is time you see for yourself what New Zealand is capable of. NEAL MARTIN

If you can taste history, duty, and family pride in a glass, it’s there in the Kumeu River Chardonnays. LISA PEROTTI-BROWN, The Wine Advocate

Kumeu River has long been the spearhead for New Zealand Chardonnay. REBECCA GIBB, Vinous.com

In fact, all the wines – the Estate chardonnay plus three single-vineyard bottlings, Coddington, Hunting Hill, and Maté’s, named after Brajkovich’s father – not only mature incredibly slowly but also express remarkably clear, consistent vineyard and vintage character from year to year. MAX ALLEN, AFR.com

There is no doubt that the Brajkovich family, at Kumeu River, makes the most famous portfolio of Chardonnays in New Zealand. Elegant, long-lived, great value and unique these wines have every element that makes them essential additions for any serious wine collector’s cellar. MATHEW JUKES

 

Every year I get told by emboldened Kiwis that there is more to New Zealand chardonnay than Kumeu River and that I should spread my wings a little. So, being the diligent wine professional I am, I got out and taste some of the best examples from across the ditch. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some fine chardonnays being produced from the likes of Neudorf, Te Mata and Felton Road to name but a few, but when I come back to the wines from Kumeu River I realise once again, there are none in the same league as these stupendous wines made by the Brajkovich family.

2020 has proved a more than worthy follow up to the superb 2019 vintage at Kumeu River and the village and estate wines we offered out recently were the best we have seen to date from estate. Those wines always act as a good barometer for the single vineyard wines which are released shortly after and to say there is some big press around these releases would be an understatement.

You will notice a newish wine in the mix today which we haven’t offered before. In 2017 Kumeu River made a foray into Hawke’s Bay, purchasing the limestone rich Rays Road vineyard from which they now produce an excellent single vineyard chardonnay. It’s made in a different mould to the other three, understandably given it’s location, but Mathew Jukes loves it calling it “classy, layered and complete”.

Coddington, the richest and fullest wine of the three was Jukes’ pick of the two “premiers crus” calling it “seamless” and “refined” while Rebbecca Gibb thought this year’s Hunting Hill, typically fine and chiselled, was the “most complete” she’s tasted in its youth, delivering “breadth and concentration” but retaining a “sense of elegance”. Mate’s is the flagship of the trio for a reason, full of deep seated power and concentration. Gibb was enamoured with this year’s release whacking a big score on the wine along with some florid praise. As is usually the case Mate’s will be at its best after 5 years or more in the cellar.

A few things to note on this year’s releases. The wines sold out in record time last year and this year volumes are sadly down, particularly for Coddington. Long-time lovers of Hunting Hill will also notice a price rise that see’s the wine close in on Mate’s. While the increase is not insignificant, the new price probably more appropriately reflects the quality of this wine which has long been the pick of savvy punters.

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