Spotlight on New Zealand: Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2007

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This will be the last post in the New Zealand spotlight. And I feel it is suitable to end with a wine that represents how New Zealand is moving towards it own unique sense of terroir, marrying cool climate viticulture with respect for both old world restraint and new world pleasure. The best wines of New Zealand combine the reflective with the hedonistic so well that I am very excited for the Island’s future.

Methods

I wrote up Kumeu river’s entry level chardonnay earlier in this spotlight, which is made with purchased fruit. The Estate Chardonnay takes things to another level of depth and complexity. Grown on clay and sandstone soils, the vines are trellised in the ‘lyre’ system, which increases the grapes light exposure and helps to ensure greater phenolic ripeness.

The grapes are hand harvested, and once in the cellar they see 100% whole bunch pressing, full malo-lactic and barrel fermentation for 11 months.

Old World, New World

This is a very tasty wine and, despite not reaching the level of stunning complexity of the Pyramid Lion’s Tooth Chardonnay, it is also surprisingly complex and aromatically expressive. Minerals, stones, flowers and lemon make up the excellent bouquet, which would fool many to be Burgundy, though I think the fruit character is decidedly Kiwi. The oak is beautifully integrated and the palate is very bright and fresh with good length and balance. This is a wine with old world style and a new world sensibility and is outstanding chardonnay for the price.

Excellent and Highly Recommended Value
$40 at Kits Wine Cellar and Everything Wine

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