75cl * 13.5% ABV * Auckland, New Zealand
Michael Brajkovic - the first New Zealander to become a Master of Wine - believes the 2020 vintage was the finest Estate Chardonnay to ever leave the Kumeu River cellars, and this vintage follows suit and will age just as beautifully as any of its predecessors.
While spring frosts meant the yield was 35% less than usual, the quality was excellent across the six Kumeu vineyards that contribute to this blend of Chardonnay. Grapes are all hand-harvested and whole-bunch pressed, the juice undergoes indigenous yeast fermentation, 100% barrel fermentation and 100% malo-lactic fermentation to give a rounded creaminess that frames the citrus aromas and flavours. The wine spends 11 months maturation in barrel, but there is subtle oak influence here.
The 2021 vintage is particularly concentrated with intense citrus oil, preserved lemon aromas and a dense layered palate with lingering complexity. Full and balanced, it certainly lives up to its critical billing as ‘White Burgundy in Kiwi clothing’. In comparative French terms, what you have here is Grand Cru quality at a village wine price.
Smoky, tense and lively on the nose. Very fine and open. Slight smokiness on the palate also. Great balance. (2006 and 2007 are still looking good in 2022 apparently.) A fair copy of a fine Chassagne! 17+/20, Jancis Robinson.com
The 2021 Chardonnay Estate is an open, flowing white. It has a rich fragrance speaking of its time in the cellar - oak-derived nutty notes and vanilla meet sweet pastry characters often found when wines are left on their lees. The lightly cooked apple fruit in this young wine sits underneath. Gentle acidity leaves a tender rather than taut finish. Drink 2022-2027. 90/100, Vinous, Oct 2022