Kumeu River 2019 - The Greatest Vintage Ever?

It is no secret that at Farr Vintners we are huge fans of the brilliant Chardonnays made by Michael Brajkovich MW at Kumeu River in New Zealand. As has been well documented, these wines regularly match or beat Premier Cru (or even Grand Cru) White Burgundies from the leading producers – wines that sell at many times the price. There have been so many rave reviews over the years from the leading international wine critics - including Jancis Robinson MW, Neal Martin, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW and James Suckling - that we could more than fill this page with superlatives and huge scores.
 
We have imported every vintage produced by Kumeu since 1989 and in all that time Michael has always been the epitome of modesty and never one to blow his own trumpet. So imagine our surprise when this most unassuming of winemakers told us that the 2019 vintage might just be the best that he had ever made. Fast forward to June 2020 when we first tasted the wines and wow! Now we too are completely convinced that the 2019 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay is the most promising young vintage that we have tried and, of course, the 4 single vineyard sites are stunning.
 
We have shipped all that we could fit into a container and all 5 wines have just arrived in our Melksham warehouse. They are available for delivery now in bottles and, if you are very quick, there are some (screwcapped) halves too. A second container will arrive in September to also include magnums (also screwcaps) and for the first time since 2000 there will be 3 litre double magnums (with diam corks). These are available to pre-order now as they will certainly sell out before the wines arrive in stock.
 
Thomas Parker, our own Master of Wine, has written his tasting notes which you can see below and stand by for some massive scores from the critics. You can see Thomas’ video report on these wines here on FVTV.

 


2019 Estate Chardonnay

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
New Zealand2019Estate Chardonnay, Kumeu RiverBT1000150.0012 Add to Basket
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

"The quality of the Estate Chardonnay in 2019 is remarkable. Pale lemon colour in the glass, creamy, smoky citrus and riper peach come through on the nose in tandem with the textbook flinty reduction that we have come to expect from Kumeu River. The palate has superb delineation of citrus, stone and even tropical pineapple fruit, but is tamed by a hit of zesty acidity. There is real weight and viscosity, with deep honeyed lemon and buttery poached pears coming through. The struck match and savoury spices add layers of complexity through the mid-palate, but everything is in balance despite the power. Long and harmonious, a superb wine that will drink well in the next 12 months but will no doubt improve and evolve with bottle age for a decade. This is a contender for the best Estate ever, alongside the brilliant 2014 and 2010 vintages."

17+ points, Thomas Parker MW, Farr Vintners


2019 Rays Road Chardonnay

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
New Zealand2019Chardonnay Rays Road, Kumeu RiverBT340175.0012 Add to Basket
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

"The second vintage of Rays Road continues to mark its difference from the Auckland sites. This Hawkes Bay Chardonnay is cool and lightly smoky, with finely etched citrus and white pear getting a slightly saline edge. The palate is cool and mineral, with sappy fruit and a little creaminess in the background. Cool and precise, this is elegant and fine like a Chablis, with crisp acid driving through to a long finish. It is the most approachable wine in the line-up this year."

16+ points, Thomas Parker MW, Farr Vintners


2019 Coddington Chardonnay

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
New Zealand2019Coddington Chardonnay, Kumeu RiverBT500230.0012 Add to Basket
New Zealand2019Coddington Chardonnay, Kumeu RiverMG90240.006 Add to Basket
Physically available in late September 
New Zealand2019Coddington Chardonnay, Kumeu RiverDM-21100.00bt Add to Basket
Physically available in late September 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

"The 2019 Coddington has a rich lemon-yellow colour in the glass. Fleshy and peachy on the nose, it is exuberant with juicy passion fruit that is tamed by flinty minerality. The palate is glossy and ripe, bursting with ripe stone fruits and mandarin. There are waves of flinty reduction but also sweet spice from the oak, adding a generous smoky layer to the fruit. Despite the density and richness there is balance, thanks to the refreshing bite of acidity. This is seductive but serious, with a long, driven finish. It will be gorgeous when youthful, but that will not preclude it from ageing well in bottle for a decade."

17.5 points, Thomas Parker MW, Farr Vintners


2019 Hunting Hill Chardonnay

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
New Zealand2019Hunting Hill Chardonnay, Kumeu RiverBT5011300.0012 Add to Basket
New Zealand2019Hunting Hill Chardonnay, Kumeu RiverDM-20130.00bt Add to Basket
Physically available in late September 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

"The 2019 Hunting Hill is an absolute knockout. Pale lemon colour in the glass, it is initially tight and brooding, with flint, preserved lemons and fresh limes on the nose. With air is becomes expansive yet precise, with layers of toast, lime blossom, white peach and struck match. The palate is tightly coiled and youthful, but there is unparalleled density of fruit and real viscosity. Through the mid palate this bursts forth with powerful lemon peel and smoky yuzu. This is a vertical, driven wine at this stage, structured by steely acidity, but it flourishes towards the finish with waves of expansive fruit, spice and minerality. The finish is minutes long, further confirming the potential here. It should be given at least 12 months in bottle before approaching, but it will improve for a decade or more. An absolutely outstanding wine that may prove to be the best wine ever made at Kumeu River."

18.5 points, Thomas Parker MW, Farr Vintners


2019 Maté's Vineyard Chardonnay

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
New Zealand2019Maté's Vineyard Chardonnay, Kumeu RiverBT506330.0012 Add to Basket
New Zealand2019Maté's Vineyard Chardonnay, Kumeu RiverDM-22140.00bt Add to Basket
Physically available in late September 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

"A vivid lemon yellow in the glass, the nose is immediately powerful on the Mate's Vineyard 2019. Full of juicy peaches, heather honey and struck flint, this is smoky and enticing. The palate shows superb concentration, with glossy and ripe stone fruits at the core. The viscosity and richness is cut by vibrant acidity before being rebuilt with toasted spices and more of that struck flint character. Generous and rounded, this creamy and ripe wine still finds savoury edges with lees and oak, and there is a richness of texture that adds further depth. Mouthcoating fruit and spice complete this spectacular wine on an unerring finish. This should drink well in 12-18 months, but will be best after 5 years and will comfortably age for a decade or more. Outstanding."

18+ points, Thomas Parker MW, Farr Vintners


Minimum Order – 1 case
Bottles and halves are in stock now
Magnums and double magnums will arrive in September

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