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Artisanal & Affordable

04 September 13

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2010 Kumeu Village Chardonnay

We think it is fair to say that Kumeu River have a formidable reputation for Chardonnay that dates back to the 1980’s when we started to evolve our style of barrel-fermented wine from Kumeu. In the ensuing 30 years we have tweaked it, honed it, tuned it and nearly even perfected it. The viticulture has improved beyond recognition, and in the winery we have learnt from each vintage and continue to make improvements in both style and quality. We pioneering in New Zealand the use of techniques such as wild yeast fermentation and malo-lactic, and were also at the forefront in the use of barrel fermentation and the concept of ageing the wine on yeast lees for an extended period.

We have taken what we have learnt over 30 years of Chardonnay winemaking and applied that experience to making the Kumeu Village Chardonnay.

Artisanal can still be affordable and the creation of this wine recognises the need to have everyday wine that is inexpensive but still very good quality to drink at the table or simply as an aperitif. From Chardonnay vineyards that offer a higher yield, with a little less intensity of fruit, we are able to make wine in stainless steel tanks and older oak barrels, at less cost, and make it less expensive for the customer. But there are some things we will not compromise in order to save cost, and at the top of that list is hand-harvesting. This is so important that we even state it on the label. The fruit must be handled and sorted carefully before whole bunch pressing, and these steps are crucial to maintaining quality. We absolutely refuse to consider mechanical harvesting or crushing of the grapes.

Just like our upper echelon Estate and Single Vineyard wines, the Village Chardonnay is fermented with our own local wild yeast, and spends a long time maturing on the yeast lees. It goes through 100% malo-lactic to reduce the naturally high acidity, and is bottled quite late once it’s had time to mature properly.

Chardonnay is a wine variety that has suffered somewhat from the vagaries of fashion. Since the 1980’s the increase in popularity of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris has certainly impacted the sales of Chardonnay. These varieties are characterised by very distinctive and memorable fruity markers. Although Chardonnay does not smell of roses, passionfruit, grass or cats’ pee, it always delivers more presence, texture and complexity than any other white grape variety, and ultimately is much more satisfying. Even the noble variety Riesling lacks the textural quality, palate weight and food worthiness of Chardonnay. 2010 Kumeu Village Chardonnay is certainly the wine to drink this summer and beyond.