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 vintage
"The 2018 vintage was warm but with some weather episodes during harvest. This made hand harvesting crucial in maintaining the standard of the Estate Chardonnay that we have set for this wine. The nose shows the ripe peach and nutty character that we expect to see from the Estate Chardonnay. The texture supple and with a beautiful bracing acidity on the finish. The wine is delicious now and will provide beautiful drinking over the next 6 years."
93/100 Huon Hooke (2017 vintage)
"Rich, spicy nose with a good helping of toasty oak, the palate more intense and full-bodied than the Village, with real chardonnay generosity and impact. A nice touch of matchstick while the fruit is tight and focused and really sings on the palate. Long finish. Wonderful line and length 07 AUG 201."
4.5 Stars Michael Cooper (2017 vintage)
"Grown at Kumeu, in West Auckland, it is powerful, with rich, beautifully interwoven flavours and a seductively creamy texture, but also has good acid spine. The key to its quality lies in the vineyards, says winemaker Michael Brajkovich: 'We manage to get the grapes very ripe.' Grown in several blocks around Kumeu, hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts and lees-aged (with weekly or twice-weekly lees-stirring) in Burgundy oak barriques (typically 25 per cent new), the wine normally undergoes a full, softening malolactic fermentation. The 2017 vintage (4.5*) is drinking well in its youth. Light lemon/green, it is fragrant, full-bodied and sweet-fruited, with generous, citrusy, peachy, slightly toasty flavours, showing good complexity and harmony.
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