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Kumeu River In Top 100

21 September 11

Kumeu River in Wine Spectator Top 100… again!

Iconic New Zealand Chardonnay producers Kumeu River Wines have once again come up with the goods, this time with their 2007 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay. In their annual "Top 100" list of wines from around the world the Wine Spectator Magazine has ranked the Kumeu River Chardonnay at Number 41 with a score of 92 points, and a price of US$35.00 per bottle. This is the seventh time that Kumeu River has featured in the Top 100, highlighting a consistency of both quality and value derived from decades of experience and increasing skill with what is surely the King of white wine varieties.

The Estate Chardonnay is a blend of six vineyards in the Kumeu region, the same six vineyards each year, giving this wine great complexity and consistency of character. It is produced exclusively in Burgundy-style small oak barrels, of which 20% are new. The Estate Chardonnay typically combines citrus zest with beautiful peach and hazelnut aromas, along with a rich silky texture and crisp mineral finish.

Kumeu River actually produces five Chardonnay wines, starting with the Village wine which is produced from several local vineyards. It is fermented in a combination of steel tanks and old oak barrels to minimise the influence of oak and presents a lively, crisp and fruity expression of Chardonnay.

There are also three single vineyard wines which highlight the influence of their individual sites, or "terroirs". The Coddington, Hunting Hill and Mate's Vineyard Chardonnays are very individual and distinctive styles, and represent the epitome of the Kumeu River style of Chardonnay.

Kumeu River was among the pioneers of barrel fermentation of Chardonnay in New Zealand, and also a ground-breaking exponent in the use of wild yeast and malo-lactic fermentation. In the making of Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay these traditional techniques have been adapted and honed over 25 years experience to harmonise with the natural attributes of grape variety and vineyard site, to produce a wine style of outstanding quality and balance, and with a very strong sense of place.

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay has also proven its ability to age gracefully in the bottle. In a recent vertical tasting of this wine in Boston going back to the 2002 vintage those present were very impressed with the ongoing development of bottle bouquet and the building of texture and complexity on the palate that occurs with these wines over a period of 4-6 years, giving more than ample rewards to those of us with patience.