Kumeu River ‘Hunting Hill’ Chardonnay 2016
Grape Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Growing Region: Kumeu River, Auckland - NZ
Owner / Winemaker: Michael Brajkovich MW
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. The vines grow predominantly in clay soils overlying a sandstone base, and have proven ideal for elegant Chardonnay wines. One of the distinguishing factors of Kumeu River’s wines is all their grapes are harvested by hand, resulting in a yield of high-quality grapes.
The ‘Hunting Hill’ vineyard was first planted in 1982 and became a significant part of the original Kumeu River Chardonnay blend. Located on the slope overlooking Maté’s Vineyard, it has always contributed rich fruit. Hunting Hill was replanted in 2000 and Michael feels that it is now even better than before, giving beautifully ripe fruit with a distinctive mineral nuance. Vine age plays an important role in this wine.
The hand harvested parcels were whole-bunch pressed, then fermentation was initiated with an indigenous yeast, with the wine undergoing 100% barrel fermentation and malolactic fermentation and matured in oak for around 11 months before blending and bottling. I appreciate that typically I only post wines that are currently available. But I recently had the pleasure to catch-up with Michael Brajkovich MW and his brother Paul at their winery to talk through and taste a selection of their wines, and this 2016 was just at the peak of its power, so wanted to share.
★ On the nose you have boiled lemon drops, with a citrus background and a note of peaches and popcorn. The engaging and generous palate is well structured showcasing those peaches, grilled pineapple, and buttered popcorn flavours. This wine has a defined mineral seam meandering through and highlighted by natural fruit acidity, all held aloft by a dovetailed oak stage under a most entertaining orchestra expressing elegance and real quality with each note. This wine gives a memorable performance and a nicely balanced finish, a real treat for the senses.
This 2016 Kumeu River ‘Hunting Hill’ Chardonnay has 14% Alc./vol. Crafted in a classic dry style. Chill gently and serve in a moderately shaped, oak wine glass at 9º- 10ºC. - *NZ$85.00 - *(V/Limited)
CELLARING POTENTIAL: *(Review 25/5/23)
Drinking perfectly well now; plus, should hold nicely for another 2 - 3 years.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
Perfect wine pairing with lemon stuffed whole roasted chicken, pork-n-crackling w/ apple sauce, chicken & gruyere grilled sandwich, creamy pesto gnocchi, and aged brie on crusty bread - enjoy.