Kumeu River - ‘Classic Crémant Character’: 27 January 2024.

The winery in west Auckland was founded in 1944 by Mick Brajkovich, with his wife Katé and son Maté. Kumeu River Winery is one of the early pioneers in New Zealand, helping to establish the countries reputation as a world-class wine region. Still family owned and operated, Kumeu River continues to hand craft terroir driven, dynamic varietal wines that have had the attention of those in the know for several decades.
Kumeu River in Auckland encompasses 30 hectares of their own vines, with another 10 hectares under contract. Their vineyards for many years, have proven ideal for elegant Chardonnay wines, which plays an important role in these Crémant wines. Another important detail in crafting the following wines is all their grapes are harvested by hand, enabling them to select ideal, quality grapes.
I had the pleasure to sit down with Michael Brajkovich MW (winemaker) and Paul Brajkovich (marketing director) last week to talk and taste through the following Crémant wines. For some time they had held an ambition, along with a strong belief that they could produce high quality sparkling wine from our vineyards in Kumeu. Particularly from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and the outstanding quality of these character filled wines confirms this confidence.
Just for some clarification. A Crémant *(which is a French term) is a specific style of sparkling wine, produced using the same ‘traditional method’ as used in Champagne. So the secondary alcoholic fermentation and the creation of the fine bubbles occurs inside the bottle, rather than in a large stainless steel tank. A Crémant wine must also meet exacting production methods during the entire vinification process to maintain the integrity of the name. These include hand harvested fruit from a single area, whole bunch pressing, a maximum yield, and a lengthy period of maturation on yeast lees, to list just a few.

*(These Kumeu River Crémant's are available at fine wine establishments, and most importantly are ready to sip, savour and share at any ocassion).

Kumeu Crémant NV : 5 Stars ★★★★★
Grape Varietals: 60% Chardonnay & 40% Pinot Noir
Growing Region: Kumeu, Auckland - NZ
Head Winemaker: Michael Brajkovich MW

The fruit came from their own Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards in the Kumeu area. After hand-harvesting, and whole-pressing, the wine underwent its first fermentation. Then came the blending of the base wines which for this current release are from the 2018 vintage, and 5-6% reserve wine added before the cuvée started its secondary fermentation in bottle. After 3 years on lees the wine was disgorged by hand and a low dosage added before resting, labelling and release.
In the glass a pale golden glow with a fine bead greets you. On the nose you are enticed by ripe apple skins, white peaches and hint to a fresh bakery, pastry notes. Time on lees has given this wine a lovely depth and textural character. The midpalate has good structure and a creamy nuance showcasing both pip and stone fruits, and the fine beading resulting in a gracious guide to a lingering dry finish.

• Chill gently & serve between 8°- 10°C : 12.5% Alc. : Extra Brut - Dosage of 5g/L : Cellar 2 - 3 years : *NZ$50.00

Kumeu Crémant Rosé NV : 4 Stars ★★★★
Grape Varietals: 60% Chardonnay & 40% Pinot Noir
Growing Region: Kumeu, Auckland - NZ
Head Winemaker: Michael Brajkovich MW

Made predominately from Chardonnay, where it makes up 60% of this cuvée, with the balancing 40% being Pinot Noir. The wine is on the cusp of being an ‘Extra Brut’ with a dosage of only 6g/L. The base vintage for this current release if from 2017, with the Pinot Noir parcels being picked slightly later than normal, so adding a defined texture to the mid-palate. Also the Pinot used to colour the wine was also slighter darker.
You have this appealing copper, salmon skin colour and persistent beading smiling at you from the glass. This wine has inviting aromas of wild strawberries, juicy red watermelon, peach skin and a note of pomegranate. These all combine and dance with confidence across the palate lifted by a good acidity and structure, plus an appealing textural nuance that carries onto the rewarding finish.

• Chill gently & serve between 8°- 10°C : 12.5% Alc. : Dosage of 6g/L : Cellar 1 - 2 years : *NZ$50.00

Kumeu Crémant ‘Blanc de Blancs’ NV : 5 Stars ★★★★★
Grape Varietals: 100% Chardonnay
Growing Region: Kumeu, Auckland - NZ
Head Winemaker: Michael Brajkovich MW

Crafted from 100% Chardonnay, which was grown just on the other side of the Hunting Hill vineyard in Kumeu. This current release is predominantly from the 2017 vintage, with 5-6% reserve wine. This cuvée was placed in bottle in May 2018 and hand disgorged in December 2021, and then released onto the market in September 2023.
An inviting straw gold and persistent beading catches your eye and senses. This wine has an inviting aroma of lemon drops, lemon cheesecake, apples, popcorn and a hint of peach skin. These all combine and become greater than their individual parts on an engaging palate that displays a beguiling confidence. A delicate but important detail is the elegant mineral seam running through the wine and combines with the natural fruit acidity and fine mousse to give a vibrant and memorable finish.

• Chill gently & serve between 8°- 10°C : 12.5% Alc. : Dosage of 6g/L : Cellar 3 - 4 years : *NZ$75.00

These character filled Crémant's are available in Fine Wine Retailers • Restaurants • Hotels • Distributor Websites.
*(Kumeu River Crémant availability & pricing will vary by outlet & country)