The Brajkovich family have been making world-class wines on their estate in Kumeu River for over seventy years. Michael Brajkovich and his family are based in an area just to the west of Auckland, New Zealand as well as owning vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, all on the North Island of New Zealand. They make single vineyard wines from each of their vineyards including this Hunting Hill Chardonnay, and also an estate blend from their six different sites. They have all regularly beaten top white Burgundy wines in recent blind tastings line-ups, and in our view thoroughly deserve their title as the best white wines in New Zealand.
The Hunting Hill site was one of the first vineyards planted at the estate and produces wines of great concentration and a lovely citrus and herb character; it would easily be of Premier Cru quality should New Zealand ever decide to categorize their vineyards as such. And if you like intense, vibrant, structured dry whites then this is for you! From the brilliant 2022 vintage, it has lifted lemon and lime notes with hints of thyme in the background. The palate is concentrated and powerful but with the trademark fresh acidity of Kumeu River, so the wine is never in danger of being too rich or heavy. It’s an impressive white wine that you can broach now (as with many young, structured white wines, it’s better to decant for an hour or so before serving). Or this will cellar between 5 and 8 years in half bottle. 13.5% ABV
Auckland is known for being the largest city in New Zealand, but there are longstanding vineyards on the lands close by, the most famous of which is Kumeu River. Well-known producer Villa Maria also has a winery in this area. While the climate is not always easy for grape growing, due to high humidity being surrounded by so much water; Kumeu River is widely accepted as making the finest white wines in New Zealand. The grapes for this wine were all hand-harvested and whole-bunch pressed, with wild yeasts performing the fermentation. The wine was fermented in French oak barrels and aged for a further 11 months in barrel prior to release.
See kumeuriver.co.nz for more