2016 Kumeu River "Kumeu Village" Chardonnay

SKU #1358524 92 points James Suckling

 An array of local sites blended together, this gives a heart and soul feel for the vintage at Kumeu. Plenty of richness and ripeness. Quite peachy and almost heads into mango tropical territory. A fleshy and approachable palate. Drink now.  (11/2017)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Still a Kiwi classic, Kumeu River's 2016 Estate Chardonnay features toasted grain aromas, ripe peach and nectarine flavors and a long, citrus-inflected finish. It's medium-bodied, with a plump, silky texture and up to a decade of aging potential. (JC)  (2/2018)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Fragrant, juicy and floral up front, with pretty notes of peppery white flowers that mingle with lime, white grapefruit and apple flavors, set on a crisp, linear body. Shows plenty of tension from the vibrant acidity and lingering minerality. Drink now. (MW)  (4/2018)

90 points Decanter

 Expressions of bright citrus and grapefruit that are verging on astringent. There are gently integrated oak characters supporting and balancing the flinty minerality and a bracing finish. Drinking Window 2017 - 2020  (10/2017)

K&L Notes

The family who began this winery and still run it today are Croatian. Mick Brajkovich, together with his wife Katé and son Maté, emigrated from Croatia in 1938. Once they had saved up enough money, they bought a parcel of land in the Auckland area and began farming. They grew grapes and made wine for family consumption, as was common back home in Dalmatia. Very quickly the quality of their wines was recognized by the Auckland elite and they found that they had a growing wine business. As the family business grew, so did the family. The current generation’s winemaker, Michael Brajkovich, is the eldest son of Maté and has taken the business very seriously. He was the first winemaker in New Zealand to become a certified Master of Wine, and since the 1980s has focused the direction of the winery on Burgundian varietals. Kumeu River is known for its Chardonnay production. The 2016 Kumeu River “Kumeu Village” Chardonnay is one of the best examples of serious New Zealand Chardonnay on the market. While showcasing plenty of ripe, tropical fruit notes, and a creamy texture from the malolactic fermentation that it undergoes, it still maintains a crisp acidity and stays light on its feet. Michael primarily ages this wine in stainless steel, with 25% used French barriques to add texture and a subtle sweet oak spice. A combination of traditional Burgundian techniques married to vibrant, ripe, yet balanced New Zealand fruit.

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Price: $19.99

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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

New Zealand

- New Zealand is an extremely diverse wine-growing nation. The long history of producing wine started in the 1830s with wineries such as Mission Estate (1850) and Te Mata Estate (1896) still producing wine today. The two islands hold a multitude of different growing climates ranging from warmer areas such as Hawke’s Bay to very cool regions such as Waitaki, and Awatere. Most regions are defined as Maritime with the exception being Central Otago that has a moderate Continental climate with the high elevation creating dramatic diurnal swings in temperature. The plethora of grapes grown in New Zealand reflects this diverse microclimate make up. Everything has a place here, Bordeaux varietals and Syrah in Hawke’s Bay, Chardonnay and Pinot in Nelson, Pinot Noir and Riesling in Central Otago , aromatic whites in Waipara and pretty much everything you can imagine in Marlborough. New Zealand is also one of the “greenest” wine producing nations on earth (94% of wine certified sustainable in 2013) with a strong focus on organic and Biodynamic farming.