A Look Back, A Glimpse Ahead
“… My previously mentioned New Zealand adventure wrapped up in Auckland with a visit to Kumeu River winery where I met Sales and Marketing Manager Paul Brajkovich for a tasting of their portfolio. Originally founded in 1944 as San Marino Vineyards by Mick and Katé Brajkovich and their son Maté (originally from Croatia), Kumeu River underwent a name change in 1986 as the next generation of the Brajkovich clan decided to focus less on producing basic red and white wines and more on producing Chardonnays made in the style of those from Burgundy. And trust me when I tell you that this family-run winery is making Chardonnays that will surprise, impress and excite any serious wine lover. Each one was better than the last, with the 2007 Kumeu River Maté’s Vineyard Chardonnay serving as an absolute standout. A luscious nose dominated by notes of lemon curd, pineapple, green pear and yellow apple, coupled with a palate of melon, hazelnuts, white stones and a hint of melted butter, this Chardonnay could easily stand up to any bottle of quality white Burgundy on the market.
“After the tasting and a memorable encounter with the family matriarch, Melba, my New Zealand visit ended much like it began – with a beautiful home cooked meal at Paul’s house with his family. Once again I was blown away by the kindness and hospitality shown to me as I was welcomed like one of their own, and treated to an evening of food, wine and beautiful company that epitomized the generous and jovial Kiwi culture that I grown to love in just the few short weeks I was there. There’s no question that New Zealand makes beautiful wine, but it’s truly the people behind the labels who make it exceptional…”
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