KUMEU RIVER WINES, 'KUMEU VILLAGE' CHARDONNAY

 

KUMEU, NEW ZEALAND 2018

 

 

“World class: two words loaded with import and used too liberally these days. Apropos of Kumeu River’s Chardonnays, those two words are apt” (Vinous Media). Chardonnay is easily the world’s most popular white grape, and it thrives in a variety of climates; that said, there are certain regions where this grape can yield wines with stunning complexity, richness, and depth of character. Are you thinking of New Zealand? Well, you should be, thanks to producers like Kumeu River Wines. The winery has established itself as a Chardonnay beacon that continually wows the press with its stellar single-vineyard Chardonnays. And while these wines are tremendous value next to the Burgundy’s Grand Crus to which they are often compared, the bottles still fetch upwards of $50 and are made to age. The Kumeu River portfolio thus expanded to include a ‘Village’ tier: wines crafted by the same team, with the same meticulous attention to detail, but that are ready to enjoy now and offer price points that make it easy to stock up. Special pricing brings each bottle of today’s 2018 Kemeu Village Chardonnay below $17—in other words, we’ve found your new go-to Chardonnay.

 

The first generation of the Brajkovich family arrived in New Zealand in 1937 from a small Croatian village. With experience farming in Croatia, Mick and Katé Brajkovich found jobs working in New Zealand’s vineyards and orchards and by 1944, they had saved enough money to purchase their own property with a small vineyard. Kumeu River remains a family-run business and is overseen today by Mick and Katé’s grandchildren, including winemaker Michael Brajkovich: New Zealand’s first Master of Wine who drew inspiration from his experience working in Bordeaux and Burgundy in the 80s. The 30 hectares of estate vineyards are located on New Zealand’s north island, well north of the majority of the country’s other (south island) growing regions; however, the vineyards’ are cooled by their proximity to both the Tasman Sea and Atlantic Ocean and the clay/sandstone soil types retain sufficient water and no irrigation has ever been used. 

 

In his 2019 report, Vinous’s Neal Martin puts it plainly: “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.” Though the Kumeu Village line of wines are a fraction of the price of the grand single-vineyard Chardonnays, the wines are still crafted with the utmost care: sustainably grown grapes are hand harvested, fermented using only wild yeast, and given extended maturation on the lees. The latest 2018 Chardonnay release was fermented in a combination of old French oak barrique and stainless steel and underwent 100% malolactic fermentation. There is little oak influence in terms of aroma or flavor, but there remains an incredible opulence on the palate. The wine showcases vibrant citrus and stone fruit and complex minerality that far surpass expectation for a wine at this price. This is the bottle you’ll always want to have ready in the fridge—don't miss it!

 

 

*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Fall 2020. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in CO, IL, KY, LA, MO, NM, NY, TN, or WI. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.