2018 Kumeu River Chardonnay Mate's Vineyard

Year: 2018
Appellation: Kumeu
Country: New Zealand
Wine Advocate: 93
James Suckling: 96
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%

Pre-Order
DUE IN: DECEMBER 2019

Price :
$54.95

"Gentle notes of toasted grain mark the nose of the 2018 Mate's Vineyard Chardonnay, framing ripe pineapple and white peach aromas. There's a hint of bacon fat too. On the medium-bodied palate, the wine is slightly custardy and silky, while at the same time, it's crisp and focused, tightening on the finish into a coiled spring of citrus zest. Like most vintages of Mate's, this ideally needs a couple of years in the cellar to fully express itself.

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)

"The top-tier chardonnay here is very much in command and has a super rich and very concentrated feel with deep, ripe-peach and mango aromas with grilled-grapefruit notes, too. The palate is very rich and ripe, offering a super fleshy feel with long, rich and layered, stone-fruit flavors. Drink or hold. Screw cap." (JS)

Winery Notes:
In 1990, Maté Brajkovich reworked the land at Kumeu River and planted a new vineyard of Chardonnay on the site of the family’s original vineyard, purchased in 1944. The first harvest from these new vines was in March 1993, the year following Maté’s death. The vineyard was named Maté’s Vineyard in his honor, and the resulting single-vineyard wine was first released in November 1994 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Brajkovich family’s arrival in Kumeu.

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