Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kumeu River Chardonnay

The Wine Spectator's #41 in The Top 100 of 2009 wouldn't normally mean much to me. But when a wine shows up at a weekly Burgundy vs. New Zealand line-up at the staunchly old-world wine shop VinVinoWine in Palo Alto, I know there is something interesting going on. New Zealand's Kumeu River Chardonnay is starting to get reputation as more "burgundian" than a typical new-world chard.

From the first sip of the 2007 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay, I tasted the unmistakable acidity I'd come to expect from New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, with a kiss of oak of a Chardonnay. 100% barrel fermented, 100% malo-lactic, 11 months maturation in small oak barrel (20% new wood) imparted no heaviness or butteriness of a Napa Chardonnay. I appreciated a relatively low level of alcohol - 13.5%. Some even ascribe Premier Cru status to the winemaker's Mike Brajkovic' finest cuvees. With a body somewhere in between a high-end Chablis (such as from William Fevre) and a white from Cote d'Or, to my palate it didn't have as much minerality as a white Burgundy. The wine's high acid gave it incredible precision, energy and brightness, atop of juicy grapefruit, citrus zest and touches of tropical fruit. With acidity like that, it should develop more complexity with age. It would pair with variety of foods - from cheese and charcuterie to salads to fish and so on. (I had it with pan-seared wild salmon sprinkled generously with high-quality extra virgin olive oil, served with a side of green salad from my garden - an easy and enjoyable combo.) 2007 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay - quite a bargain at under $20 at K&L (elsewhere at $30-35).

1 comment:

The Meister said...

Hard to believe that there is such a big price disparity between the 2 stores.

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