2010 in Kumeu was as near a perfect season as it is possible to have. Very low rainfall through the growing season, and lovely warm ripening conditions towards the end, led to a beautiful crop of Chardonnay and all the varieties we grow.
Frost during spring 2009 caused a significant loss of fruit, and that was followed by an equally difficult flowering period which resulted in fewer berries per bunch. As a result the harvest was only about 50% of normal. The Mendoza clone of Chardonnay was particularly affected, but we also saw increased millerandage (hen and chickens) in some of the other Chardonnay clones as well. Together with the very good ripening conditions, the small berry size, and small crop overall, has resulted in wines with incredible intensity and depth.
The dry and warm weather also meant that all the fruit was clean and well-coloured, with lots of honeyed tones mixed with muted greens in the Chardonnay, and plenty of citrus and stonefruit aromas. The Pinot Gris was perfect, with particularly aromatic fruit characters evident even at the juice stage.
The Chardonnay wines were bottled in November 2011, and have been enjoying a nice period of quiet bottle maturation in our new purpose-built temperature controlled cellar. These wines all have lovely concentration and richness, but with the fine acidity and elegance on the palate that makes them delightful to drink even at this early stage. There is no doubt, however, that these will be very long-lived wines indeed, and they will amply reward those with the patience to wait several years.
2010 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay
The quantity of Estate Chardonnay for 2010 is dramatically low. We usually expect to make 5000 cases of this wine, but in 2010 we only have 1600 cases. The wine has remarkable depth and intensity. The nose is immediately luscious and peachy, the texture rich and lingering with a beautiful bracing acidity on the finish. The wine is delicious now but with this level of concentration and complexity it certainly will be very long-lived.
2010 Kumeu River Coddington
Usually the most flamboyant wine when young, the 2010 Coddington is a little subdued on the nose right now but is still showing the rich peach aromas we expect from this vineyard. On the palate, however, this is very typical Coddington with its luscious and creamy texture that is very layered and long. This is a bit tighter than usual due to the vintage, and is an excellent example of what this vineyard can produce.
2010 Kumeu River Hunting Hill
This wine has fragrant lemon/lime blossom aromas on the nose that typify the lovely perfume we always get from Hunting Hill. This year it is more complex due to the low yield, but also because the vines are getting just a little bit older. We also noticed this with Mate’s Vineyard in the 2000 vintage which seemed to be a significant step-up in quality, certainly because the vintage was very good, but also because the vineyard clocked past 10 years of age. The palate is very intense and tightly focused with beautiful citrus and mineral notes. We thought he 2009 Hunting Hill was a special wine but this new vintage is a distinct lift in quality and complexity.
2010 Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard
The Mate’s Vineyard is usually the most reserved and unyielding when young and this is even more so with the 2010 vintage. The nose is very closed, just giving hints of the golden queen peach and mineral notes that we expect from Mate’s Vineyard. On the palate however, the flavour is very concentrated and distinctly richer than the other 2010 wines, but maintaining a perfect balance and freshness that sets this wine apart and makes it wonderful. It is difficult to think of a better vintage ever of Mate’s Vineyard than the 2010.