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
4.5 Stars Michael Cooper
"This typically 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 2017 vintage (4.5*) was hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak barriques and wood-matured for 11 months. Pale lemon/green, it is full-bodied, with fresh, ripe, citrusy, peachy flavours, a subtle seasoning of oak, balanced acidity and good vigour. A finely poised, youthful wine, it's worth cellaring to 2020+. ?"
96/100 Bob Campbell MW (2016 vintage)
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 (2016 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, 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+."
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