Kumeu River Winery Kumeu, Auckland
Michael Brajkovich is one of New Zealand’s most important winemakers. Although the family vineyards are in the now less than fashionable Kumeu district, west of Auckland, his intelligent, nonconformist approach showed it was possible to make better wines by rejecting some of the rigid, purely technical doctrines of winemaking that dominated styles in the late 20th century. Instead he adapted to a New Zealand context the best from established wine cultures and has made arguably the country’s best Chardonnay for well more than a decade. The use of indigenous yeasts, hand picking grapes and then whole-bunch pressing have now been adopted by others. Both the Kumeu River Chardonnay and Maté’s Vineyard (an original vineyard replanted in 1990) are barrel-fermented and aged, and put through full malolactic fermentation. The resulting wines are richly textured, concentrated and complex with well-integrated oak characters and are also atypically ageworthy for New Zealand Chardonnay; they are usually best with 3–5 years’ age but often keep for longer. Maté’s version with fabulous fruit has the richness and texture of grand cru Burgundy if not the nuance. Melba is a ripe, characterful blend of Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. In recent vintages both Pinot Noir and a rich Pinot Gris with intense pear, quince and melon fruit have been made. 2004 was the first vintage of a stylish, richly textured and well-structured Sauvignon from Marlborough. Two further single vineyard Chardonnays, Hunting Hill and Coddington are also now made. Both are a little cheaper (£E) than Maté’s Vineyard. The inexpensive second label is now known as Kumeu River Village. All the wines are now bottled under Stelvin caps.
❁ Kumeu River Winery Kumeu, Auckland www.kumeuriver.co.nz
Brajkovich family 550 Highway 16, Kumeu, Auckland
Tel: 09 412 8415 Fax: 09 412 7627
To find out more about Kumeu River and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Regional Guide here..
Or indeed you can check out the Main Guide that is 2250 pages, reviews over 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines here …