What’s in the glass tonight March 4th – Chardonnay


KR Estate Chard 2016

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$

Being the third KR Chardonnay I have tasted these past weeks, this is the flagship Estate-level blended wine, a step up from the Villages wine I enjoy and consider excellent value. Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay is drawn from six different vineyard sites in the Kumeu Region.

14% alc. Pale gold colour.

Restrained mealy and composed. Aromas of white peach and apple.

Rich and stylish on tasting. Crisp and fresh, acid prevails over fruit. Not as elegant or dense as the Coddington, nor as lively and personable as the Villages. Stuck in the middle. Will it age? Appears to have the boldness and structure to do so for another 3 years. Let’s see then…

Recommended 88 Points

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 28th – Chardonnay


Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$

This is Kumeu River’s  single vineyard wine I generally prefer the most, right from when I first began tasting their wines. I dare say this is because this shows better when young than the more powerful cousins, Hunting Hill and Matés Vineyard Chardonnays.

13.5% alc. Light brilliant gold colour.

Like KRs usually have, a slightly reductive aroma. Fine, lightly scented, with citrus, melon, lemon, butterscotch and spice.

Crisp and fine to taste. Bold acid and golden fruit. Suppler and elegant with a crunchy punch through the mid-palate. Heat on the finish. Very approachable on one hand; this is too young, too soon, on the other…

I feel this wine is not as accomplished as the 2016 Villages blend Chardonnay I tried previously, despite the $ gulf between them

Highly Recommended 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 22nd – Chardonnay


KR Estate Chardonnay 2015

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Kumeu 2015 – $$$

14% alc. Pale gold colour.

Clear, clean yet complex citrus on the nose, layered and sweet. Stonefruit. Fine and elegant.

The bouquet translates to fresh and crisp sweet citrus flavours, racey acidity, mouthwatering. Ripe peach and lemon sharpness, a brusque finish. Very moreish. Very long, with alcohol heat producing tingling in my gums.

This is a good food wine, and a great aperitif.

BTW this is the best photo that the Prisma app has produced for me so far. Do you agree?

Highly Recommended  91 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 21st –Chardonnay


Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2014

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2014 – $$$

Brilliant Pale gold. 13.5% alc.

Smells fine and refined, mealy, light golden stonefruit characters with the warmth of oak and vanilla. Bounty and restraint in one. European in style.

Soft and full up front on palate.  Smooth mouthfeel lovely integration of fruit and acid with complexity in the mid palate. Great depth.  Citrus and golden apples at the finish

Totally moreish and immersive. Makes me want to come back to the glass. 93 points

What’s in the glass tonight October 17th


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Kumeu River Estate Pinot Noir Kumeu 2009 – $$

Only a month ago I was reviewing my cellared 2009 KR Estate Chard, and up comes this pinot option for work drinking via my firm’s online supermarket order. I’ve never tried a pinot noir from this far north in New Zealand before, so couldn’t resist.

I would have thought the Auckland regional climate was too hot and humid to be that convincing a place to grow a correct cool-climate varietal wine? But what would I know right? The people at KR are good winemakers. They must think the local terroir is suitable, or otherwise they are jumping on the NZ pinot train.

From their website: 20yr vines; 100% hand harvested; indigenous yeasts. Let’s see…

Deep ruby colour. 13%. Nose of plums. I smell lanolin, underbrush. The wine opens up in the glass over 20-30mins to become appealingly aromatic.

In the mouth I am surprise how tannic the wine is after 5 years in the bottle. It has an assertive structure, bright with acid, almost ‘tingly’. Red plums and cherries, with some stalkiness. Hot and spicy on the back palate. Bitter final taste.

That said, I do see it as a somewhat ‘one-note’ pinot noir. The current ’12 vintage is branded ‘Village’ so my reservations are well-founded. 3

What’s in the glass tonight September 7th


Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2009

From the Cellar: Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2009 – $$$

Kumeu River hails from Kumeu, just north of Auckland. It is one of NZs more humid winegrowing regions. From an earlier review of mine, “KR handpick, whole-bunch press and ferment with indigenous yeasts. The diacetyl that is produced is consumed by the malolactic bacteria during a long period of lees content, which reduces (deliberately) the ‘buttery’ character of the malo’d wines. They favour a cooper that produces quite heavy-toasted barrels, but leaves the heads as raw oak. During a low yield year, less new oak barrels are used, and more 1-yr barrels.”

Here we have a wine that is pale gold in colour, with alc 13%.The mid-level offering from this producer – one step below the Coddington or Mates single-vineyard wines – which you could say represents the  ‘house style’ of the brand. It had a rich oatmealy nose, with aromas of white blossom, vanilla, almonds, mandarin peel, lemonade, and oak. Good stuff.

It was full and ripe to taste. There was a fresh citrus tang that was very appealing. Full MLF, but was no butter-bomb. The oak was restrained. Mouth-watering and luscious. Secondary characters starting to protrude as well.

Opened at just the right time. I really liked it. Age-worthy. 4+

What’s in the glass tonight Aug 25th


Kumeu Villages Chardonnay 2010

Kumeu Village Chardonnay 2010 – $

Earlier in the year I went to a tasting of Kumeu River chardonnays. It was fantastic. I bought a bottle of their single vineyard 2010 Coddington Chardonnay on the strength of it. My general takeaway was that production was way down due to an early frost event, but the season ended well and it delivered quality product in short supply.

This wine didn’t appear at the tasting. It’s the entry-level offering. Still hand- harvested, but I think the wine saw less of the new French oak barrels.

Pale gold colour. Fresh and zesty citrus nose, and long legged. For $15 it’s showing pretty good balance and flintiness to drink. There is fruitiness and acid crunch and a touch of mealiness. The age of this is spot-on.

Funny tho, a bottle I split with L last week was a deal more austere. 3.5