New Zealand, Paging White Burgundy
2007 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay
Tension, Delicacy, Nuance (Easy on the Wallet)
"Capturing the essence of a Meursault..."
- Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
We are fans of white Burgundy. You may have gathered that already.
Today's wine, however, is not white Burgundy, though myself, Bobby and Ian all said, nearly in unison: "This tastes like white Burgundy."
We also, all three of us, picked this wine out of a rather large lineup of wines as an undeniable standout - we basically locked up everything we could, on the spot. We have just had very few New World Chardonnays that so convincingly balance an impressive depth of flavor with such a well-integrated minerality.
Though we only read Neal Martin's notes after we had done the deal, he's right on target - if you had to place the ripe peach, honeysuckle and toasted hazelnut flavors in the Côte d'Or, the village would be Meursault.
And if the address really was Meursault, have no doubt the price would be double, at least.
We are Burgundy fanatics, through and through. Still, there is no denying this wine. Martin writes: "If you have never tried these wines, then it is time you see for yourself what New Zealand is capable of."
Today, we've gone long and have secured a discount on this parcel only, bringing the price as low as $27 and change a bottle.
While it is tempting to sort of leave it at that, to frame the wine as an honest value for holiday consumption, I think it short-changes the seriousness of the wine.
The Brajkovich family has been making wine in New Zealand since 1944. The last decade or two, however, has seen an incredible rise in quality here. The family has begun turning their attention to a more Burgundian style with methods like hand-harvesting, fermenting with indigenous yeasts, longer lees aging and full malolactic fermentation in barrels.
Michael Brajkovich is the winemaker today (he’s also New Zealand’s first Master of Wine) and he sourced the grapes for the 2007 Estate Chardonnay from six different vineyards across the family’s 30 hectares. The soil here is mostly clay over sandstone, which retains water so they don’t need to irrigate.
The climate is also fairly cool, thanks to the Tasman Sea on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. 2007 had a particularly cool growing season, so there’s especially great acidity and a more mineral-driven nature to the wines from this vintage - it is this definition, this energy that really makes the wine a standout for us.
This also makes it an incredibly versatile bottle of wine - not in the least bit fatiguing. Need a sure-fire bottle for the festivities around the corner? Here you go.
As for cellaring, for us that's a tough question. The 2007 certainly has the structure to age (Neal Martin writes, "All [these] Chardonnays can be drunk immediately but do resist temptation and save some bottles to drink over 5-6 years (or more) as they can age beautifully"), but they are so delicious right now, so energetic and buoyant.
We say drink up. Why wait for tomorrow when today tastes so good?
To order, please click below, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Crush Wine & Spirits
Neal Martin, Wine Advocate: "The 2007 Estate Chardonnay has a wonderful nose that has you instantly hooked, capturing the essence of a Meursault with hints of roasted almonds and smoke. The palate is very well balanced, very clean on the entry but building nicely to a weighty, honeyed middle with touches of almond, hazelnut, lemon and spice. With great persistency on the finish. Michael Brajkovich MW produced a brilliant array of 2007s. The cooler growing season meant that they harvested one week earlier than 2006 with lower yields and sugar levels, high acidity levels but with greater expression of minerality. If you have never tried these wines, then it is time you see for yourself what New Zealand is capable of. All his Chardonnays can be drunk immediately but do resist temptation and save some bottles to drink over 5-6 years (or more) as they can age beautifully."