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
96/100 Bob Campbell MW
Ripe, quite lush chardonnay with stone fruit, peach, apricot and nectarine flavours, with citrus and a seasoning of hazelnut and ginger characters. A very attractive wine with an impeccable balance and a lingering finish
5 Stars Michael Cooper
"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, its typically a lusher, softer wine than its Hunting Hill stablemate (below). The 2016 vintage (5*) was hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak barriques and wood-matured for 11 months. Bright, light lemon/green, it is still very youthful, with a complex bouquet and fresh, tightly structured palate. Full-bodied, it's a classy wine with deep, vibrant, grapefruit-like flavours, showing excellent complexity, fresh acidity and a long, finely poised finish. Best drinking 2019+."
18.5+/20 Raymond Chan
"Brilliant straw-yellow colour with pale lemon-gold hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is fine in proportion with good breadth and depth of ripe yellow stonefruits, peaches and citrus fruit, along with subtle creamy barrel-ferment and spicy, nutty oak elements adding richness and detail. This is an expression of elegance with underlying richness. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegantly rich and plush with an integrated core of ripe yellow stonefruits, peaches and citrus fruit, with fine creamy barrel-ferment and nutty, spicy oak flavours. The mouthfeel is smooth in flow and gently moutfilling, possessing integrated acidity, growing in depth, weight and lusciousness as it carries to a soft, sustained finish. This is a beautifully harmonious, rich, integrated Chardonnay with stonefruit, citrus fruit, creamy barrel-ferment and spicy oak flavours on a smooth-flowing palate. Serve with roasted poultry and pork dishes over the next 4+ years. First made as a single vineyard wine in 2006. Fruit from the vineyard formerly owned by Tim and Angela Coddington, hand-picked, WBP and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 25% new oak with 100% MLF. 18.5+/20 ."
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