2018 Kumeu River Chardonnay Hunting Hill

Year: 2018
Appellation: Kumeu
Country: New Zealand
Wine Advocate: 93
James Suckling: 93
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
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"Almost always the most opulent of the Kumeu Chards, the 2018 Hunting Hill Chardonnay fits that description perfectly. Loaded with white peach, pineapple and even melon-like fruit, those notes are sculpted by faint suggestions of pencilly oak in a generous but focused package. It's medium to full-bodied, with a creamy mid-palate and a vibrant finish.

Last May, Kumeu River's U.S. distributor, Wilson Daniels, hosted a vertical tasting of the winery's four different Chardonnays that extended from 2017 back to 2006 (48 wines in total). It was a remarkable event, with the wines notable for their consistency and ageability. Winemaker Michael Brajkovich, MW, was an early adopter of screwcaps, so all of these wines were under that closure, which no doubt contributed to the freshness and lack of variation you might expect in a tasting like this. Rather than repeat reviews of recent vintages, I've focused on the wines from 2013 and earlier, plus supplemented my notes on the vertical tasting with a first look at the 2018 vintage bottlings. As vintages go, it doesn't appear to be especially strong, yet the wines are still excellent. Quantities are down, as is the use of new oak—to better marry with the lighter style of the vintage. " (WA)

"This has plenty of rich, stone-fruit aromas with a fresh and quite crisp palate that has good focus and a sleek, gentle, pastry-like finish. Plenty to offer now, but is quite taut and linear. Drink or hold. Screw cap." (JS)

Winery Notes:
Hunting Hill is a vineyard that was first planted in 1982 and became a significant part of the original Kumeu River Chardonnay blend. Occupying the slope overlooking Mate’s Vineyard, it has always contributed lovely ripe and rich fruit to the Estate Chardonnay. Hunting Hill was replanted in 2000 and is now even better than before, giving beautifully ripe fruit with a distinctive mealy minerality.

Hand harvested
Whole-bunch pressed
Indigenous-yeast fermentation
100% barrel fermentation
100% malolactic fermentation
11 months maturation in barrel