White Burgundy in Kiwi Clothes: 2016 Kumeu River Village Chardonnay
Posted on: 07/26/18 12:01 PM
No New Zealand producer has received such critical acclaim over the last few years as Kumeu River. The 2016 Village Chardonnay from the legendary estate confidently shows off its powerhouse talent and pedigree with outstanding class and charm. An easy, uncomplicated sipper that relies on refreshing, brisk fruit and silky satisfying body, you can easily match this for a light supper but I see this more as a sneaky lunch time wine. Where? Two words: Poolside.
2016 Kumeu River Chardonnay Village
“With an inclusion of 25% Hawke’s Bay fruit this wine offers rich tropical fruit aromas of melons, pomegranates and fragrant ripe peaches. The palate has a pulpy fruit texture. Evenly paced acid drive. Drinking very well now.” 90 Pts, James Suckling
“Light nose with some matchstick creeping in. Awfully good value really!” 16.5/20, Jancis Robinson
More About the Wine
There are two families of Chardonnay drinkers: those who want to drink oak and those who want to drink fruit. The 2016 Kumeu will hugely satisfy the latter. There is very little presence of oak here. Actually, there is very little presence of anything except the fruit, which is exactly why we have come to love this bottle so much. Winemaker Michael Brajkovich, who achieved an MW (i.e. has become a master Jedi in the wine world) has done a masterful job at letting the fruit speak for itself. This turns out to be a damn good thing because the Chardonnay picked here (here being Hawkes Bay and single vineyards in Kumeu) has retained a thrilling amount of purity, texture and drive.
More props to Mr. Brajkovich, who is famous for making New Zealand Chardonnays compared to (and have beaten) Grand Cru White Burgundy, for not trying to making this something it’s not. He’s not dressing this wine up, nor is his cellarmaster employing and high tech tricks to make something it’s not. It’s an honest, super crisp, refreshing Chardonnay that is extremely smartly made. For under $20 this Chardonnay has everything: 100% hand harvested (some of which from “Premier Cru” sites, 100% native yeast fermentation, 100% whole cluster, 100% malolactic fermentation with just a touch of old barrique. While the results feel similar to say, white burgundy in kiwi clothes, the more powerful connection is that this is a superb wine with its own compelling New World identity, feeling classic and new all at once.
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