New winery of the month... Kumeu River from West Auckland

Posted by Joelle Thomson on

We are thrilled to feature Kumeu River Wines as our winery of the month for October and will have special deals for the month. 

You can buy these wines here or on the links below.

Chardonnay rules at Kumeu River Wines in West Auckland, one of the smallest wine regions in the country with just 319 hectares of vines (up from 316 last year) and a mere five grape growers. Kumeu River Wines owns 30 hectares of grapes, buys another 10 hectares from contract growers in Auckland and makes about 250,000 bottles annually, exporting 50% of its wines.

This iconic producer is widely regarded as one of New Zealand's top wine producers, most notably for its outstanding Chardonnays which have found favour both in this country and internationally, most notably in Wine Spectator magazine with consistently high scores and also at a 2015 tasting held at Farr Vintners in London where Kumeu River's range of Chardonnays were tasted blind against a bunch of top white Burgundies. The Kumeu wines trumped the tasting which had a range of international wine critics looking at the wines. 

Kumeu River Chardonnays are all made from

• 100% hand harvested fruit grown in Auckland
• All Chardonnays have time in lees
• All wild yeast fermented

The winery is owned and run by the Brajkovich family, all four siblings working to their strengths in both vineyard and winery today. They are Michael Brajkovich, winemaker and New Zealand's first Master of Wine; Milan an engineer who looks after the vineyards; Paul who studied commerce at the University of Auckland and looks after marketing and Marijana, who works at the winery and manages the business. 

History of Kumeu River Wines

The winery was founded in 1944 by Maté Brajkovich and his father Mick, who had emigrated from Croatia. The family had experience tending vines and making their own wine at home in Croatia and after working in the Kauri gumfields in Northland, they moved to West Auckland where they worked in local vineyards and orchards, purchasing their own land in Kumeu in 1944. In 1957, Maté met Melba, they got married and not only ran their winery, called San Marino in its early days, but they also had four children, who now run Kumeu River Wines. 
In 2018 the family bought a vineyard off Trinity Hill in Hawke’s Bay and they are now extending their range of wines by making Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Bay.

Here are some tasting notes from our staff visit to Kumeu River this year 

2019 Kumeu Village Chardonnay
Buy here
Best vintage of the past 30 years. This wine is a blend of Kumeu grown fruit and Hawke’s Bay fruit which comes from the Dartmoor Valley from a grower they’ve been buying from. They made this change in 2015 due to a heavy frost which decimated most of their fruit that vintage. 
The wine is 80% tank fermented, 20% older barrels, but not about oak. It’s all about liveliness crisp refreshing wine to drink. 

2019 Kumeu Roy’s Road Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay
Buy here
From a 30 hectare vineyard in Hawke’s Bay which KRW has now purchased. It is 180 metres above sea level on limestone. A property they are excited about. Fermented with some oak and a portion of tank ferment. Crisp, Chablis like wine with richness and freshness. 

2019 Kumeu Estate Chardonnay
Buy here
This wine was the first Chardonnay the family ever made and it was later supplemented with the single vineyard wines. Made from about six different sites  around Kumeu. All French oak, hand harvested, whole bunch fermented.
In 2006, the Coddington and Hunting Hill single vineyard Chardonnays were launched as separate wines instead of having the fruit blended into the Estate Chardonnay.

2019 Kumeu Coddington Chardonnay
Buy here
North facing vineyard on heavy clay, leased by the Brajkovich family for another three years. Produces a riper style of Chardonnay with rich flavours and a full body. Bigger than the Kumeu Estate Chardonnay in style and with a flinty undertone. 

2019 Kumeu Hunting Hill Chardonnay
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Flinty, lime and lemon flavours with zesty fresh style made from a site the family owns. This wine impressed the author of this story the most with its high acidity beautifully balanced by a full body and lingering finish. A great wine now and to age. 

2019 Kumeu Mate’s Vineyard Chardonnay
Buy here
Made from grapes grown on the original site that Maté bought in Kumeu and was completely uprooted in the 1970s. Maté passed away in 1992 and the plan was originally to vinify the grapes in this wine as part of the Estate Chardonnay but the first harvest showed significantly different flavours so they decided to make a separate wine in honour of Maté.

2014 Kumeu Mate’s Vineyard Chardonnay
Buy here
Deliciously refreshing and crisp with great acidity and brightness. 

2013 Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay
Buy here
Pale lemon, fresh, brilliant wine – star of the entire line up.

2006 Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard Chardonnay
Buy here
Fading slightly, showing age in colour, aroma and taste but retains clean fresh qualities.

2018 Kumeu River Pinot Noir Hawke’s Bay
From Roy’s Vineyard, the first vintage and will soon be followed up by the 2019 Pinot Noir. Light colour and flavour has a vibrant freshness. Good quality. 

All Hawke’s Bay grapes are trucked up for complete vinification at Kumeu River Wines. 

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