New Zealand’s first Master of Wine, Michael Brajkovich, is also the country’s first producer of world class Chardonnay. His father, Maté (mah tee eh) moved to Kumeu, New Zealand from Zivogosce, a small village in Croatia, in 1937 and married his mother, Melba Sitich in 1958. He and his siblings Marijana, Milan, and Paul,
whom I met with at the Barrel Room in San Francisco last month, run the winery today.
While New Zealand is enjoying tremendous success as a producer of bright, fruity, appealing and consistent Sauvignon Blanc, Kumeu River Chardonnays are world classics, offering both the chalky minerality, sexy leesy tang, and often feral quality of White Burgundy, France’s Chardonnay, with the bright, clean, opulent and expressive ripe fruit coming from the family’s well-sited North Island vineyards. While Matés , River Hunting Hill and my personal favorite, Coddington, are all released as single vineyard wines in the $40-$54 range, the $16 Kumeu Village Chardonnay is delicious and priced for everyday enjoyment.
Here is a link to our Kumeu River reviews: