In 1938 Maté Brajkovich arrived in New Zealand with his parents, who settled in Kumeu and in 1944 bought a small vineyard which would later become Kumeu River wines. For a few decades Maté mostly made simple fortified and sparkling wines. It wasn't until 1982 however, when Matés son Michael took over, that the wines would really start to turn heads. Michael and his siblings began to transform the vineyard and vinification practices to more considered, traditional ways, with hand harvesting, improved drainage, judicious use of oak and only using the wild yeast present in the vineyard to bring a sharper definition of terroir into the wines. Matés vineyard is the original land bought in 1944, re-planted by Maté just before his death with low-yielding Mendoza clone Chardonnay in 1990.
What The Critics Say
95/100 Wine Orbit, Sam Kim (2015 vintage)
"What a charmer. Although this is more opulent in style than Hunting Hill, the wine is never heavy or blowsy, still with firm structure and refinement. Gorgeous aromas of yellow stone fruit, hazelnut, nougat and lemon peel on the nose. The palate is concentrated and flavoursome with excellent weight and creamy texture, perfectly structured by bright acidity. Very long on the finish of course. At its best: now to 2025. $50.00. www.kumeuriver.co.nz. Oct 2016.
4.5 Stars Michael Cooper (2015 vintage)
"Launched from the 2006 vintage, this powerful, rich wine is grown in the Coddington Vineyard, between Huapai and Waimauku. The grapes, cultivated on a clay hillside, achieve an advanced level of ripeness (described by Kumeu River as ‘flamboyant, unctuous, peachy’). Mouthfilling, complex and slightly nutty, it’s typically a lusher, softer wine than its Hunting Hill stablemate (below). The 2015 vintage (4.5*) is fresh and fragrant, with a slightly smoky bouquet and vibrant grapefruit and spice flavours, tight-knit and lasting. Woven with lively acidity, it's still very youthful; best drinking 2018+."
91+/100 Parker's Wine Advocate, Lisa Perrotti-Brown (2015 vintage)
"The 2015 Coddington Chardonnay is youthfully muted with subtle suggestions of lemon curd, lime leaves and grapefruit peel plus a yeasty, toasty, cedary waft. Light to medium-bodied, fine, fresh and delicate in the mouth, it delivers good citrus and yeasty notes."
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