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 Bob Campbell MW
“Tight, linear wine in a slightly edgy, fine-boned style with citrus, oyster shell, mineral and spicy oak flavours. A little closed and hard to read now but with obvious cellaring potential.”
19+/20 Raymond Chan
"Bright straw-yellow colour with light golden hues and some depth, a little paler edged. The nose is taut and tightly bound with intense and penetrating aromas of white stonefruits and nectarines, with citrus fruits, along with a layering of spicy, nutty oak, hints of creamy barrel-ferment and some steely mineral elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate has very tightly concentrated flavours of nectarines and white stonefruits, citrus fruits, all entwined with spicy, nutty oak, subtle mealy elements and creamy barrel-ferment. The mouthfeel is refreshing and poised with lacy acidity. The flavours grow in intensity and depth to form a firm core and line. This has excellent drive, energy, tension and linearity, carrying to a very long and sustained finish. This is a tightly concentrated and intensely packed Chardonnay with white stonefruit, peach and citrus fruit flavours, along with spicy oak on a refreshing and poised, driven palate. Match with roasted seafood and poultry over the next 6+ years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Hunting Hill’ vineyard, WBP and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 25% new oak with 100% MLF. 19.0+/20 "
5 Stars Michael Cooper
"This outstanding, single-vineyard wine – my favourite in the Kumeu River range – is grown on slopes above Mate's Vineyard, directly over the road from the winery at Kumeu (originally planted in 1982, the site was replanted in 2000). A notably elegant wine, in its youth it is generally less lush than its Coddington stablemate (above), but with good acidity and citrusy, complex flavours that build well across the palate. The 2016 vintage (5*) was hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak barriques and wood-aged for 11 months. Attractively scented and mouthfilling, it has a real sense of youthful vigour. Intense and vibrantly fruity, with searching, peachy, lemony, slightly biscuity and toasty flavours, it shows excellent ripeness and complexity, with a very long, tight finish. Best drinking 2019+."
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