This northern North island winery founded by Michael Brajkovich’s father in 1944 is now famous for its chardonnay wines that dramatically differ from others in New Zealand, or for that matter from any other New World winery.
This is still a family operation of approximately 25 000 cases. The owner, Michael (a graduate of Roseworthy College in South Australia) makes the wines and other family members manage the various departments.
Despite being located well north of the other viticultural regions of New Zealand Kumeu River’s climate is cool, because of its proximity to the Tasman Sea, just 15 kms. to the west, and the pacific ocean 20 Kms. to the east.
All grapes are hand picked at their optimal ripeness, sorted, and fermented using the natural yeast on the fruit. Most of Kumeu River’s chardonnays are barrel fermented and barrel aged in French barrels.
Recently Michael Brajkovich was in Toronto and wine writers had an opportunity to listen to his explanations, and asked questions.
There were seven wines, some of which are available in Ontario and a few in Quebec.
Village Chardonnay, 2008
Attractive lifted pear/apple aromas, along with an undertone of nuttiness. Crisp, flinty palate with a refreshing finish. Try as an aperitif, or with a breaded fillet of fillet of sole, or poached salmon with sauce Hollandaise.
Available at Vintages stores in Ontario 247171, $ 18.95
Estate Chardonnay 2008
Barrel fermented, dry, full bodied, superbly balanced with excellent minerality. Long aftertaste. Goes well with creamy pasta dishes, boiled lobster with drawn butter, smoked salmon, crab cakes, grilled salmon.
Available at Vintages 640383, $ 34.95 SAQ (Societe d’Alcol de Quebec) $ 34.00
Coddington Chardonnay 2008
Hand harvested fruit, sorted and barrel fermented and barrel aged. This outstanding wine made from fully ripe grapes exudes aromas of apple and pear. In the mouth the wine is balanced, smooth, and offers layers of flavours. Excellent and long aftertaste.
The 2009 Vintages will be available in 2013, available now at SAQ 11661971 $ 40.00
Hunting Hill Chardonnay, 2008
Floral/fruity, refined, and elegant this powerful and deeply flavoured wine is well-balanced and eminently suitable for appropriate dishes. Satisfying, and long finish
SAQ 11416159 $ 39.75
Mates Vineyard Chardonnay, 2008
A full-bided fruity well balanced wines, exuding pear aromas. Good minerality is perceived in the mouth. A complex wine that can be enjoyed now, or cellared fro four to five years for further refinement.
Vintages 204032, $ 44.95
SAQ 11212631 $ 50.00