Kumeu River Chardon­nay

Decanter - - BUYING GUIDE -

Well known to wine lovers, the Kumeu River es­tate is sur­rounded by the suburbs of Auck­land in New Zealand’s North Is­land. The Chardon­nays are hand­made by Mike Bra­jkovich, the coun­try’s first Mas­ter of Wine, and mar­keted by his brother Paul. Last Septem­ber, Farr Vint­ners’ The Great­est Kumeu River Tast­ing Ever showed all 12 vin­tages from its four bot­tlings – Es­tate, Cod­ding­ton, Hunt­ing Hill and Maté’s Vine­yard – from 2006 to 2017, all un­der screw­cap. Over a morn­ing, 18 tasters sam­pled 48 wines and there was not a sin­gle dis­ap­point­ment: far from it. Jan­cis Robin­son MW pon­dered: ‘Do we need white Bur­gundy?’ The flo­ral­ity, fruit, pre­ci­sion and depth of these wines was un­matched. While the Che­va­lier-Mon­tra­chet-like Maté’s Vine­yard Chardon­nay 2014 and the Cor­tonCharle­magne-like 2010 (both 97/100pts from me, with a decade in front of them) took the group’s vote, they are both sold out. So I rec­om­mend the 2017, to which I gave a mod­est 94, drink­ing from 2019-2032 (£23ib, Farr Vint­ners). The mostly clay soil is fri­able, the 2.6ha vine­yard is shel­tered, so the fruit is both rich and dense, tex­ture com­ing from long skin con­tact. Com­pared to the 2017s in the other ranges, this has some­thing more, as the Bra­jkovich fam­ily had re­alised from its very first vin­tage in 1992. A tri­umph.

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