Vinous: To Paint a Picture: Kumeu River Chardonnay 2006-2017 (Neal Martin)
“You are left scratching your head as to why Kumeu River is not uttered in the same breath as Leflaive, Ramonet or Marcassin”
On the heels of last years UK vertical tasting covering each of the Kumeu River Chardonnay’s from 2006 through 2017, Vinous’s Neal Martin has published an extraordinary piece focused on the history of the property and a detailed look at each of the wines.
This is an amazing article. We’ll leave you with a few key quotes but we highly recommend you head over to Vinous and read it in its entirety.
“Amongst the very best Chardonnay producers in the world is Kumeu River in New Zealand. Their Chardonnays were put to the test a few years ago when several were assessed blind, intermixed with some very serious Puligny-Montrachets and Meursaults. Kumeu River triumphed to such an extent that it became almost embarrassing. And to think that you can buy an entire case of Kumeu River for the cost of a single bottle of some Grand Crus.”
“The name was changed to Kumeu River and the family soon became known within the nascent modern wine industry for their Burgundy-inspired Chardonnays using indigenous yeasts and extended lees ageing. Their first vintage debuted in 1985…”
“Kumeu River presently farms around 30 hectares of vine augmented by another 10 hectares from long-term contracts. The vines lie mainly on clay soils over sandstone, the water-retentive clay allowing the Brajkoviches to cultivate vines without irrigation. The vines are always harvested and sorted by hand.”
“One headline is: consistency, consistency, consistency. Although the growing seasons do not always play ball, I was amazed that so few of the 48 wines did not perform up to standard. Factor in prices that frankly make a mockery of much of white Burgundy and Napa, and you are left scratching your head as to why Kumeu River is not uttered in the same breath as Leflaive, Ramonet or Marcassin.”
“World class: two words loaded with import and used too liberally these days. Apropos of Kumeu River’s Chardonnays, those two words are apt. My expectations were high coming into this tasting and I did not depart disappointed, thanks to consistency and quality. No wonder Kumeu has such a devoted following.”
“When the Brajkovich family was given a canvas upon which to paint their own expression of this grape variety, they decided to create a masterpiece.”