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
Winemaker notes on current 2017 vintage
"The 2017 vintage was cool and windy and the hallmark of the Chardonnays is fragrance. This is particularly present in Hunting Hill with its typical lemon/lime blossom aromas on the nose. Hunting Hill was harvested before any weather episodes of 2017 and the fruit was clean with beautiful flavours. This has come through in the finished wine with a supple texture and lingering finish. As with previous vintages of Hunting Hill we expect this to drink well for 6 – 8 years."
95/100 Bob Campbell MW (2016 vintage)
“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 (2016 vintage)
"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 "
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