Kumeu River Latest Reviews

Wine Awards

From James Suckling (Nov 2020) by Nick Stock

New Zealand wineries are being tasted by myself in Australia right now and the 2019 chardonnays from Kumeu River mark some of their greatest releases in an esteemed lineage. The Kumeu River Chardonnay Kumeu Mate’s Vineyard 2019 (98 points) has a “very complex array of fruit ... as well as a minerally edge.” This delivers intense flavors “in a textural masterpiece of elegant length and discreet power.” The single site 2019 chardonnays all hit high scores and the 2019 Estate Chardonnay (94 points) is one of the best value New Zealand whites currently available.


Score 98

This has a very complex array of fruit, from lemon and grapefruit through white and yellow peach and nectarine, then into mango notes. There’s a little honey and nougat, as well as a minerally edge. The palate has intense flavors that follow the aromas and aligns them in a textural masterpiece of elegant length and discreet power. Smart wine. Drink or hold.


Score 96

This is a punchy and chiseled Coddington with attractive peach and citrus-fruit aromas, as well as hazelnuts and white stones. The palate has a very focused, pure shape with a central spine of intense peach flavor, crisp phenolics and clenching acidity to close. Real drive here. Drink or hold.


Score 94

This has attractively creamy aromas with white peach and vanilla, as well as sliced mango and honey. The palate serves up fleshy and mouth-filling peach and mango flavors that wrap together so well on the finish. Love the fruit purity here. Drink or hold.


Score 94

This vintage punches well above its weight division with such complex and expertly curated style. Peach, nectarine, lemon and grapefruit aromas with flinty and pithy allure. The palate has a core of intense peach and citrus flavors with driving mineral and stony undertow to the long, fresh finish. Stunning value here. Drink or hold.


Score 93

A very bold delivery of ripe-peach aromas with some gently buttery undertones. The palate has a smooth, creamy textural build to a fresh, crisp and dry peach finish. Drink now. Screw cap


Score 91

A very vibrant, fresh nose with attractive peach and melon aromas, as well as fresh florals, leading to a palate that has pure, fleshy pear, peach and melon flavors. Drink now. Screw cap


From New Zealand Whites: The State of Play (Nov 2020) by Rebecca Gibb MW

Despite being in the humid climes of West Auckland, New Zealand's most famous Chardonnay producer continues to set a benchmark for the rest of the country to emulate. Its tribute to founder Maté – father of current winemaker and New Zealand's first Master of Wine, Michael Brajkovich – remains the winery's flagship cuvée, but even at its entry level, the judicious handling of fruit, lees and oak offers layered styles. The family has recently added a Hawke's Bay vineyard, Rays Road, to its portfolio, since spiraling real estate values in Auckland have priced them out of the local market. Purchased from Trinity Hill, the new acquisition sits on clay-loess over limestone in the west of the region, and is already being bottled as a single-vineyard cuvée. Rays Road will provide the breeding ground for non-virused Mendoza Chardonnay clones and, in the future, will provide the replacement vineyard stocks for Maté's, which is affected by both leafroll virus and trunk disease.

2019 Kumeu River Chardonnay Maté's Vineyard Score 96

Tightly coiled, this focused and athletic Chardonnay needs to be put away in a cool, dark cellar in the medium term to allow it to unwind. A little shy on the nose, presenting melon, beeswax and subtle oak-derived nutty characters, it has an excellent core of concentration. There is a fine, silken texture on the focused and layered midpalate. Produced from the Mendoza clone, which is prone to hens and chicks. Invigorating acidity provides momentum on the lengthy finish. 2020 - 2030

2019 Kumeu River Chardonnay Hunting Hill Score 95

This wine manages to walk the tightrope of richness and finesse, and it does it with swagger. It's no surprise that this powerful, highly concentrated Chardonnay was fermented in new oak barrels after a hiatus in 2018 – it certainly has the stuffing to take it. Hunting Hill is Kumeu's most reductive Chardonnay but its influence remains subtle, bringing the merest flint note and added tension to the nectarine and lemon peel flavors. Poised and well judged. 2020 - 2026

2019 Kumeu River Chardonnay Coddington Score 93

This Chardonnay is expansive, filling the mouth with its subtle flavors yet retaining a sense of lightness. Its girth is wrapped in a firm belt of acidity that holds everything into a streamlined whole. Chardonnay is a non-aromatic variety and the fine aromas of nectarine and oatmeal combine with a barrel-derived smoky note on the drawn-out finish. 2020- 2026

2019 Kumeu River Chardonnay Estate Score 91

The estate Chardonnay is a blend of six different vineyards with approximately 20% fermented in new oak barrels. Texturally, this cuvée offers a sense of flow; it is relaxed in its own skin but provides welcome tension on the precise finish thanks to a line of firm acidity that will leave you smacking your lips. The 20% new oak is well integrated, contributing delicate nougat flavors, and allowing the subtle nectarine and honeydew melon flavors to shine on the medium-length finish. 2020 - 2024

2019 Kumeu River Chardonnay Rays Road Score 90

This is just the second vintage of Rays Road, and it is a delightfully restrained yet energetic Chardonnay. Despite the warm, dry year, it has maintained a taut, citrusy structure, lovely fine acid length and an almost salty texture. Winemaker Michael Brajkovich suggested that this tension is, in part, due to differences in ripeness within bunches as well as the site's limestone soils. 2020 - 2022

2019 Kumeu River Chardonnay Village Score 88

This light-bodied, fresh style offers Chardonnay lovers the perfect midweek wine with textural panache. Kumeu's West Auckland vineyards contribute 75% of the fruit for this blend, and the remainder comes from the Dartmoor Valley in Hawke's Bay. The ripe, orchard fruit characters are typical of Hawke's Bay while the more savory bass notes are more classically Kumeu. Partial fermentation in old barrels, full malolactic and time on lees combine to bring an extra layer of interest and tactility. 2020 - 2022

2019 Kumeu River Sauvignon Blanc Rays Road Score 87

Very subtle and delicate, with an attractive citrusy and steely flint note that conveys a fine, almost European style. 2020 - 2022

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