(apologies for the blurry photo – I couldn’t locate the ones I took myself so had to snitch from the Kumeu River website).
The annual invitation to taste the new releases from Kumeu River usually involves driving out to the Brajkovich family winery in West Auckland. This year the venue was the only-just-reopened O’Connell Street Bistro – a lovely setting to be certain – though I couldn’t help but be disappointed we’d miss out on Melba Brajkovich’s famous wood fired steak and roast potato lunch.
The 2015s are hallmarked by tightness of structure and firmness of acidity. Not as opulent as the 2014s, I think these would be very fine candidates for the cellar. Drink the Estate wine now and keep the Single Vineyard wines for at least 4-5 years before opening.
2015 Estate Chardonnay : Some fresh white fleshed stone fruit, underneath nougat. Very gently oaky. Fruit underpinned by taut thread of acid. Very pretty and fine.
2015 Single Vineyard Coddington Chardonnay : ripe and generous with fruit sitting in lemon and lime spectrum. Definite line of acidity. Seems tighter than in previous years.
2015 Single Vineyard Hunting Hill Chardonnay : Buttoned down. Wet stone and fresh chalk. Nougat. More reserved than the Coddington but lovely texture and persistence. Length.
2015 Mate’s Chardonnay : Very tight and focussed. Showing a whiff of struck match. Hazelnut. Acidity the first to hit the palate then lemon, kaffir lime and white nectarine. Linear yet really concentrated and intense mid palate. Great length.
The much anticipated Kumeu River Cremant was available to taste too. Sealed with a crown cap, this 60% chardonnay 40% pinot noir blend was aged for 30 months on lees before release. True to the Kumeu house style the wine is all restraint and subtlety and I didn’t detect a great deal of autolysis to be honest. Looking at my notebook afterwards, I found I hadn’t taken much by way of a tasting note but instead had concentrated on enjoying the wine in my glass. Surely no bad thing.