Spotlight on New Zealand: Kumeu River Village Chardonnay 2008

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Chardonnay has crept up the New Zealand sales charts to enter the #2 position after Sauvignon Blanc. Despite this, most people haven’t tasted much Kiwi chard, let alone good Kiwi chard. I first tasted this at an industry tasting, then again at L’Abattoir and finally with my own bottle with food. Each time I tasted it I was impressed, despite this chard being made from fruit purchased from other Kumeu vineyards, a region northwest of Aukland with predominently clay soils over a sandstone base (the estate chards are at another level that I will hopefully discuss in a future post).

New Zealand’s Golden Coast

Kumeu uses only indigenous yeasts in their chardonnay, and generally combines a pure fruit driven approach with a deft use of Burgundian Cote d’Or techniques. There is serious history to this winery, which in a country like New Zealand, is one of the oldest, being founded in the 1940’s. It was not until the 1970’s that the winery planted international varieties like Chardonnay and until the 1980’s when it started bringing in techniques from Burgundy such as extended lees ageing.

Impressively Pure and Serious Chardonnay

This is a wine fermented both in French oak (1/3) and steel (2/3), which creates a compelling combination of pure chardonnay fruit and rich, voluptuous chardonnay as accented by oak. The nose offers pear lemon, a touch of oak and stoniness.

This wine is very impressive for this price. It is fairly round and rich but what keeps it tasty is that rather than becoming a goopy mess, it regains considerable focus on the finish and adds a nice line of minerality from the mid-palate onwards. It is not a profound wine, but it is a very good quality wine that will go with fish and seafood incredibly well and that would also make a great porch sipping wine if you feel like something with a hint of seriousness. I think this wine is of the same quality as good quality $35+ Chards from Macon.

Very Good and Highly Recommended Value
$26 at Kits Wine and Everything Wine


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