Complexity New Zealand Winery Kumeu River, JustJess and Wine Channel TV in Denver
Michael Brajkovich, Master of Wine, spoke with me at the Complexity New Zealand Wine event in Denver on the opening night. Before it got too crazy and loud, he filled me in on the importance of being at this event and what his winery, Kumeu River, is all about.
Kumeu River Wines was founded by the Brajkovich Family in 1944. The family had migrated to Kumeu, New Zealand from Croatia and son Michael has been leading the way following in his family’s footsteps. Brajkovich became the first New Zealander to earn the title of Master of Wine in 1989. He is also a member of the International Screwcap Initiative, making him one of the world’s leading proponents of Stelvin closures.
Kumeu’s French oak barrels play a large role in the development of their wines, such as their Burgundian style Chardonnay I sampled, which has won numerous accolades from press like Wine Spectator. It’s been named “New Zealand’s best Chardonnay” year in and year out due to it’s consistency of high quality and style in New Zealand’s Auckland region.
Michael mentioned how Kumeu’s Chardonnay was put up in a blind taste off against a top flight of Burgundies from Lafon and Giardin in March 04′. The usual reply from the tasters of his wine was “Is this a Premier Cru White Burgundy from a top grower?” Even James Sucking from Wine Spectator was stumped, stating “It couldn’t be from anywhere else but Burdundy, considering its lively aromas and vivid flavours of apples, vanilla and white truffles together with its refreshing high acidity. I was wrong. The wine was the 1992 Kumeo River Chardonnay from New Zealand.”
As you can see, New Zealand wines do age wonderfully and this is a Chardonnay to try!
Watch WineChannelTV with MW Michael Brajkovich in Denver, and see what question I got him stumped on 🙂