Critics the world over agree Kumeu River produces “some of not just New Zealand’s but the world’s finest Chardonnay”. The reputation of this family-run vineyard continues to grow on the back of an outstanding 2019 vintage which has received glittering reviews (see below).
You mightn’t expect a New Zealand producer to be whispered in the same sentence as the great French Burgundies, but Auckland’s Kumeu River continues to rival Burgundy’s Grand Crus and establish its wines as incredible value for money.
Located 25km north-west of Auckland, the Brajkovich family have tended the Kumeu land for generations. Winemaker, Michael Brajkovich MW believes the 2019 vintage is their best yet, suggesting “the 2019 vintage was exceptional and produced sensational Chardonnay across all our vineyards.”
“The ripening conditions were perfect for aroma and flavour development, while still retaining the fresh acidity that our region is noted for.”
Due to Auckland’s oncoming urban sprawl towards Kumeu, the Brajkovich’s have recently chosen to acquire their first vineyard outside of Kumeu in Hawke’s Bay, releasing 2 vintages under the moniker, “Ray’s Road”.
It is extraordinary to be able to access these wines at such a great price, but as Michael says, “we like to give good value.”
The 2019 Maté’s Vineyard, Estate and Village releases are reviewed below and are available to order in WA through Dave Mullen Wines.
Reviews of note
Tim Atkin MW, The Vine Press – Kumeu River 2019 Village Chardonnay – 93
If Michael Brajkovich MW were a Burgundian rather than a New Zealander, he would be among the most celebrated white winemakers in the Côte de Beaune, right up there with the likes of Dominique Lafon, Pierre-Yves Colin Morey and Jean-Marc Roulot. The good news for us is that we can buy his amazing Chardonnays at ludicrously cheap prices. This is only his entry point wine, but is typically well balanced, refreshing and focussed, with juts a hint of oak spice, leesy complexity, some struck match undertones and a chiselled, refreshing finish. A Kiwi wine that’s better than many Puligny-Montrachets.”
Jancis Robinson – Kumeu River 2019 Village Chardonnay – 16
Light, fresh…lovely pure, bright fruit on the front palate. Best drunk young (Kumeu River’s Aligoté?) but very well made with a fair amount of persistence… Pure, crisp New Zealand fruit.
Jancis Robinson – Kumeu River 2019 Maté’s Vineyard Chardonnay – 17.5
Already so pleasing! With that extra breadth plus undertow. Fantastic length. Creamy texture. One for hedonists – by which I don’t mean it’s at all sweet. But it’s richer…yet still has that New Zealand purity of fruit. Who could resist this? New Zealand Chardonnay at its finest.
James Suckling – Kumeu River 2019 Estate Chardonnay – 94
This vintage punches well above its weight division with such complex and expertly curated style. Peach, nectarine, lemon and grapefruit aromas with flinty and pithy allure. The palate has a core of intense peach and citrus flavours with driving mineral and stony undertow to the long, fresh finish. Stunning value here.
Cheers, Dave Mullen