Kumeu River & Vinopolis Holiday Shopping Guide 12-9-23

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Kumeu River &
Vinopolis Holiday Shopping Guide

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Kumeu River

Kumeu River is one of the leading estates in New Zealand (the country is also commonly referred to by its Māori name Aotearoa). Much of what we think of as standard practice down there is really thanks to their efforts. They led the charge on growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, pioneered the use of indigenous yeasts, and also pioneered the use of screwcaps.

Maté Brajkovich, originally from Dalmatia in southwestern Croatia, emigrated with his mother and sisters to join their father in New Zealand’s North Island. The family purchased a farm in Kumeu after several years digging for resin from indigenous kauri trees. They farmed fruits and vegetables, and raised dairy cows. Although vines existed on the estate, they were hybrid varieties grown for home consumption. It quickly became apparent that the land was perfect for wine grapes. The family expanded production and the wines took off. An international audience lapped up the dry reds.

It wasn’t until in the 1980s when Michael Brajkovich, the current winemaker and Maté’s son, began touring the wineries of Bordeaux and Burgundy that the family turned their focus on international varieties. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir took root, and today, the wines are international superstars. These are benchmarks for the region – a look at NZ terroir through the classic Burgundy lens.

These are wines for all-comers: Lovers of Burgundy will delight at these profound and unique wines, lovers of Oregon will rejoice at another successful cool-climate glimpse at our two favorite grapes, and lovers of New Zealand wines will appreciate another chance to examine the much-loved terroir through different grapes. Although there’s plenty to adore, there’s not too much to go around. Don’t miss these beauties!

“Despite being in the humid climes of West Auckland, New Zealand’s most famous Chardonnay producer continues to provide a benchmark for the rest of the country to emulate.” -Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous, writing on the 2022 vintage

“Kumeu River continues to set the pace for New Zealand Chardonnay, from its unlikely base just west of Auckland.” -Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate

Kumeu River Wines – New Releases at the Best Listed Price in the USA!

“Even at its so-called entry-level, the judicious handling of fruit, lees and oak offers layered styles.” -Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay, Kumeu 2022 750ml $30.50 special, 36 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points
“Aromas and flavors of sliced apples, lemon curd and hints of stone. Oyster shell. Lime undertones. It’s medium-bodied. Firm and fine phenolics. Tension and focus. Impressive for the vintage. Drink now or hold. Screw cap.”
Kumeu River Rays Road Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay 2022 750ml $35.50 special, 24 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 94 points
“Lemony and crisp with a stone and seashell undertone to the pretty fruit. Medium body, firm phenolics that tighten the wine on the palate. Racy and intense on the finish. Drink or hold. Screw cap.”
Erin Larkin-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2022 Rays Road Chardonnay is fine and spicy, with a tense line of acidity and phenolics—they feel linear and interwoven—that stream through the fruit. This is a very pretty, pithy Chardonnay with ground white pepper, white flesh peach, crushed shells, layers of juniper berry and star anise/cut fennel inflections. I like the staying power of the fruit in the mouth. It is persistent and long. This is really nicely done, and I’m looking forward to seeing this wine (and this vineyard) more over its journey. 12.5% alcohol, sealed under screw cap.”

“… in Kumeu, temperatures did not once hit 30˚°C [in 2022]. As a result, there’s an unexpected freshness to the 2022 wines. They don’t have the firm line of 2021, but acidities are in line with 2019 and 2020.”
-Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay, Kumeu 2022 750ml $53.50 special, 18 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points
“Sliced apple, apple, sea shell and crushed stone aromas follow through to a full body yet it’s tight and structured with an impressive fruit, acidic and phenolic balance giving it focus and intensity. Drinkable but better in a few years. Screw cap.”
Erin Larkin-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2022 Coddington Chardonnay leads with lemon balm/oil, green-olive brine, crème brûlée top (a.k.a. scorched brown sugar), peach fuzz, and an abundance of orchard fruit. In the mouth, kiwi fruit acidity (a.k.a. juicy, sweet, tart) defines the perimeters of the flavors and beckons you in for another, closer look. It’s very, very good, a distinct wine, pure, all aspects delineated and deliberate. I like this. It feels orderly and mathematical. If the wine had a sound, it would be a straight-pace bowl at the wickets, one flying out of stumps (name a better sound, I’ll wait). It’s not that immediately obvious, though; it builds and takes a while to assert itself, and I like that too. Very good. 13.5% alcohol, sealed under screw cap.”

Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay, Kumeu 2022 750ml $63.50 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Rebecca Gibb MW-Vinous 96 points
“The 2022 Chardonnay Hunting Hill is an impressive, focused style. It has a sense of energy, being almost buoyant with the movement of a skimming stone across your palate. There’s a powerful core of fruit here and it has plenty of substance within its no-more-than medium-bodied core before kerpow! It fires home with an almost spicy kick. Clever oak use, reminiscent of toasted nuts, meets restrained flavors of lemon and lime bitter and nectarine fruit. A wine that’s still in its cocoon so give it time. It may even have the edge of Maté’s… Big call.”
Erin Larkin-Wine Advocate 95+ points “The 2022 Hunting Hill Chardonnay is mout-filling and obvious in its outlay of flavor in the mouth—yellow peach, apricot, Golden Delicious apple, beeswax/lanolin and ripe lime flesh. The flutter of acidity that feathers the fruit is compelling and alluring in its power and juiciness. An exciting wine. It’s a wine I want to drink (I will; the perks) and a wine I am enjoying considering too. It’s intellectual and sensorial/corporeal in equal measure. The Hunting Hill Vineyard was planted in 1982 and overlooks Mate’s Vineyard. This is a pleasurable, exciting, fleshy, complex, salty, kaleidoscopic wine. Excellent. Recommended. 13.5% alcohol, sealed under screw cap.”
Kumeu River River Mate’s Chardonnay, Kumeu 2022 750ml $64.50 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Erin Larkin-Wine Advocate 96 points
“The nose on this 2022 Mate’s Vineyard Chardonnay leads with candied bananas, pineapple husk, white peach and a hint of lychee, and the edges of the aromatics are feathered with preserved citrus, brine, curry leaf and apple skins. In the mouth, the wine is powered by supercharged fruit; it is crystalline in its way, an attribute that I have long-since associated with the Chardonnays from Kumeu River. The flavor is sapid and palate-staining, with just enough salt and savory spices in the fruit to make it super complex as well as powerful. It is precisely folded like origami, each crease in service of the overall shape. A wine that offers much and assumes nothing. 13% alcohol, sealed under screw cap.”
Rebecca Gibb MW-Vinous 95 points “The 2022 Maté’s Vineyard Chardonnay offers tension, power and an unrelenting sense of moving forward as if your palate has been put on a travelator. This is its 30th anniversary vintage. Currently it’s closed and young with little aromatic generosity. There’s nevertheless purity and a real sense of density. The richness is there but it’s held within a brace of tension, ensuring precision and focus. After a couple of days, it loosens up a little so if you’re thinking of opening it early, which I don’t recommend, decanting may be your friend. I probably prefer the 2021 for its additional austerity but that may be me being subjective rather than objective.”

Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay, Kumeu 2021 750ml $64.50 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Rebecca Gibb MW-Vinous 95 points
“The 2021 Chardonnay Hunting Hill is its usually sinewy, taut and lightly floral self. Often in the shadow of Maté’s Vineyard, Hunting Hill seems to be becoming more and more serious as the vines age – they’re around 20 years old. Expect a muscular, unyielding wine that has lemon and lime bitter notes, nectarine and even a whiff of seaside – all salty and briny.”
Kumeu River Rays Road Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay 2021 750ml $33 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Rebecca Gibb MW-Vinous 90 points
“The 2021 Chardonnay Rays Road is bright, refreshing and almost salty. I’m even tempted to say mineral; it’s certainly not a fruity Chardonnay. The finish is lightly savory with fresh white pear and floral notes. There’s a sense of pithiness and citrus line followed up with an almost chalky texture.”
Kumeu River Pinot Noir Village, Kumeu 2020 750ml $21.90 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Winery note
“Our love for Pinot Noir dates back to the mid-1980s when we planted our first block here in Kumeu. Having already started on our journey to create a world-class Chardonnay, we knew this grape needed a Burgundian counterpart because what grows well where great Chardonnay grows? Now produced from two sites, our Hunting Hill Vineyard in Kumeu and Rays Road in Hawke’s Bay, these two single vineyards show very different expressions of Pinot Noir. Hunting Hill Pinot Noir was planted in 1994 over clay and grown here in the warmer conditions of Kumeu, often providing a beautiful purity of black fruit characters. The Rays Road, in Hawke’s Bay, is a colder, higher altitude vineyard planted on limestone. It’s a much cooler site and provides very intense and focused Pinot Noir characteristics.”
From Wilson Daniels’ website, importer of Kumeu River wines for America: “Now, from the exceptional 2020 vintage, we have consolidated that quality expectation, and this year have blended the grapes from Rays Road (74%) with some outstanding richer Kumeu fruit (26%). The result is delicious. The wine displays a bright cherry red/burgundy color with lifted red fruit aromas. On the palate the wine is cool, round and fruity and with a nice hint of chalky tannin that keeps the wine dry and refreshing.”

Shop our complete collection of wines from New Zealand on our webstore now!

Short on Time & Cash?

Make the holidays brighter without on sacrificing quality.

Shop our guide below!

Overwhelmed by underwhelming options at the grocery store? Let us help you make your holidays brighter with our party shopping guide. From rock-bottom to elite, we’ve put together a list for any budget and palate. Shop our curated selections below or hop to our webstore for a complete list of case discounts!

Sparkling Wines
Rich and bold, this grower bubbles will delight lovers of toasty and apple-y Champagnes.
Arlaux Grande Cuvee Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ml $39 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 90 points
“From a vineyard with records going back over 1,000 years, this nonvintage cuvée is balanced and rounded, with harmony between the apple and tangy fruits and a touch of toastiness from bottle aging. It is ready to drink. -Roger Voss”
Importer notes “Arlaux is a small family-run champagne house producing only 5,000 cases a year located in a small village on the Petit Montagne de Reims called Vrigny. Arlaux has been producing champagne since 1826 but the Arlaux-Marchal family have lived in Vrigny since the 13th century. Exclusively 1er Cru Champagne with a minimum of 4 years aging. They only use their own grapes from 20 to 100 year old vines which are hand-picked in order to select only the very best. All Arlaux cuvées are 100% Premier Cru and 100% Tête de Cuvée (meaning that they only use the juice of the 1st press).”
Luxury you can afford – a Tête de Cuvée Champagne at less than half the price of Dom Perignon.
Andre Clouet Un Jour de 1911… Brut, Champagne NV 750ml $85 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points
“[Reviewed 2021] The NV Un jour de 1911… is another 100% Bouzy Pinot Noir with an ancient label design. The shining golden-colored cuvée combines ripeness, complexity and finesse with intensity and elegance on both the nose and palate. It’s a powerful and rich yet very fine and balanced Champagne with great freshness and complex length. It is juicy and intense but also highly delicate, and its mineral tension and persistent finish make it a first-class wine for elaborate dishes. A great Champagne, with a label that doesn’t give any more detailed information regarding vintages or disgorgement date, but we know it’s always a 50/50 blend of three vintages (including one great millésime at least 10 years old) and reserve wines from a solera system. I tasted the wine as a Brut with Clouet’s German importer in Bremen. You shouldn’t drink it too early, as it would be a waste of its talents.”
James Suckling 95 points “[Reviewed 2021] A rich and expansive champagne with tons of mature aromas of dried fruit (apricots!) and candied orange. Teeters on the edge of decadence, but has enough vitality to stay on the right side of that line. Plenty of textural complexity on the palate and a long, chalky finish that keeps giving and giving. Spot-on balance. Drink or hold.”

A sister estate to Salon offering wines at a fraction of the price, Champagne Delamotte is enchanting and captivating. Share at your next party and you might just stun your most talkative guest into silence.
Case-6 Delamotte Brut, Champagne NV 750ml $349 pre-arrival special (that’s only $58.17/bottle!), landing just in time for your next holiday shindig!
(2023 Release)
Wine Spectator 91 points
“[Reviewed 2023] A delicate, mineral-driven Champagne, with an underpinning of chalk, smoke and oyster shell layered with notes of poached apricot, citronella and beeswax. Lively and persistent on the finish. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Drink now through 2026. 6,250 cases made.”
James Suckling 91 points “Attractively chalky and biscuity nose, with some honey, apricots and lemon cream. It’s balanced and focused, with very fine bubbles, a medium body and well-rounded finish. 60% chardonnay, 35% pinot noir and 5% meunier. Base wine from 2018 with 20% reserve wines from 2017 and 2016. Drink now.”
[Base vintages may differ from reviews]

White / Rose Wines

A fruit-forward, citrusy white that will entertain from cocktail hour through the main course. And at under $20/bottle by the case? A must!
Paco & Lola Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain 2021 750ml $20.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Paco & Lola Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain 2021 750ml $225 special (that’s only $18.75/bottle!)

Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Almost clear to the eye, this wine has a bouquet of Valencia orange and star fruit. Zesty flavors of pineapple, Meyer lemon, jasmine and a touch of lime sorbet are set into a full-textured wine with a satisfying finish.”
Decanter 92 points “A wine that consistently pleases year after year, this 2021 iteration has lovely upfront lemon blossom, lemon rind, and pure green apple fruit. There’s lots of intensity here, so lots to like. There are 442 families involved in the Paco & Lola co-operative project in Rias Baixas, and all grapes are hand harvested. Fermented in stainless steel and aged on fine lees for at least three months, this manages to retain delicate floral characters as well as cooked lemons and stone fruit. It’s medium-bodied, with decent acidity and length.”

Dry as a bone with personality to spare, this is a Riesling to fall in love with six times over.
Muller-Catoir Gimmeldingen Riesling Trocken (Dry), Pfalz, Germany 2017 750ml $21.90 special, 24+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Muller-Catoir Gimmeldingen Riesling Trocken (Dry), Pfalz, Germany 2017 750ml $125 special (that’s only $20.83/bottle!)

Stuart Pigott-Jamessuckling 93 points “Ripe white and yellow peaches and just enough acidity to lift the medium-full body and give the long finish some real drive. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”

Crafted by Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Cloudline’s rosé will leave you dreaming of summer while the snow falls. Flexible at table, enjoy with goat cheese tarts, savory apple dishes, and roasted chicken or pork.
Cloudline Cellars Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2021 750ml $11.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Cloudline Cellars Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2021 750ml $119 special (that’s only $9.92/bottle!)

Winemaker’s Notes (Drouhin) “The 2021 Cloudline Rosé of Pinot Noir expresses a floral nose of strawberry blossom and hawthorns. A beautiful salmon color, the wine has the lively texture of classic rosé and a flavor palate that includes strawberry, kiwi and a touch of lemongrass. Consider this a summer dream for any time of the year!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $17

Red Wines

Already a bargain as an old-vine bottling, now even more so on our close-out sale, this staff favorite Argentinian Malbec eschews heavy oak for a refreshing and modern twist on the style.
Vaglio Wines Temple Malbec, Anchoris, Argentina 2018 750ml Was $16, Now $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Vaglio Wines Temple Malbec, Anchoris, Argentina 2018 750ml Was $169, Now $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)

James Suckling 93 points “This is always a delicious red with lots of crushed-berry and walnut character. Full-bodied, dense and juicy. Lots of old-vine character. Succulent. Drink now.”

A whole-cluster co-ferment of primarily Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre that offers big and bold flavors with lively tannins. Lovers of hearty American and French wines will never tire of this!
Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion, Rhone, France 2020 750ml $20.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion, Rhone, France 2020 1.5L $39 special, 36+ magnums in stock now
Case-12 Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion, Rhone, France 2020 750ml $225 special (that’s only $18.75/bottle!)

Wine Spectator 92 points “Ripe and polished yet fresh, this red seduces with ripe, generous anise, vanilla-laced blackberry and cherry flavors, then turns dark and brooding on the palate, with smoldering iron, garrigue, menthol, black pepper and dark earth notes framed by fine-grained tannins. Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Clairette. Drink now through 2027.”

Wine nerd alert! This Cabernet Franc is elegant and poised from one of our favorite under-the-radar-no-more Loire Valley producers. Snap up this deal before the price reflects the quality.
Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Rouge, Loire, France 2019 750ml $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Rouge, Loire, France 2019 750ml $219 special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)

Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 91 points “From three parcels with vines planted between 1955 and 1957 on silt and sand topsoil covering softer limestone bedrock. the 2019 Saumur Rouge is pure Cabernet Franc naturally fermented in tank for six months. The 2019 opens with a pure and refreshing as well as spicy/floral nose with dark fruit and fresh lemon aromas as well as stony notes and a nice reduction. Wonderfully untamed. On the palate, this is a medium-bodied, fresh and silky-textured Saumur with a stimulating salty, round and fruity finish. At this young age, charm is not its greatest talent, but with bottle age, this will be a terrific Saumur rouge for many dishes and opportunities. I like this tight and traditional, straightforward style that might be a bit unpleasant at this early stage but will reward those with patience. 13.5% alcohol”

Impeccably crafted Cabernet Sauvignon that will astound your friends for decades.
Chateau Le Crock, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France 2016 750ml $41.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Chateau Le Crock, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France 2016 750ml $449 special (that’s only $37.42/bottle!)     
Case-6 Chateau Le Crock, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France 2016 750ml $239 special (that’s only $39.83/bottle!)

Wine Enthusiast-Roger Voss 94 points “Cellar Sellection. Under the same management as Château Léoville-Poyferré in Saint-Julien, this estate belongs to the Cuvelier family. With its structured Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is made to age. Big tannins and concentrated fruits are full and dense.”
Jane Anson-Decanter 94 points “Clearly standing out in this line-up, an impressive, well-crafted wine with great tannic hold; a wine you would be thrilled to own. Cassis, bilberry, blackberry, hawthorn, black chocolate, slate. Great texture and balance, and full of St-Estèphe signature. Great stuff.”

Does Zinfandel get any better than this?
Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red, Contra Costa County, California 2021 750ml $44.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red, Contra Costa County, California 2021 750ml $479 special (that’s only $39.92/bottle!)
Case-6 Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red, Contra Costa County, California 2021 750ml $249 special (that’s only $41.50/bottle!)

Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “From Zinfandel grown in the pure sand soils of this incredible site, the 2021 Evangelho Vineyard Heritage is lifted and pure with raspberry liqueur, fresh flowers, and brushy earth. Medium-bodied, with a highly refined structure, it reveals a floral perfume of herbes de Provence and rose petals that lasts long after the wine has dissipated. With fine tannins and a gorgeous, sandy mineral texture, it’s a beautiful wine to drink over the next 10 or more years.”
Vinous 94 points “The 2021 Evangelho Heritage Wine is dark, sensual and wonderfully expressive. Blue fruit, spice, lavender and leather all meld together in this beautifully layered Zinfandel-based field blend. The 2021 possesses unreal complexity and depth, with much of its intensity coming from punishingly low yields. The 2021 is simply fabulous.”

Phenomenal in any vintage, this is required reading in the best vintages. Saint Cosme’s CDP expertly blends Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah into an affordable package to rival the greats. Overlooked primarily since the estate’s Gigondas bottlings are simply better known and more frequently reviewed. We strive to change that by offering this to you at incredible deals.
Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France 2019 750ml $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France 2019 750ml $528 special (that’s only $44/bottle!)
Case-6 Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France 2019 750ml $279 special (that’s only $46.50/bottle!)

Wine Spectator 93 points “Modern and stylish, offering an engaging mix of raspberry puree, warm baking spices and red licorice, with vanilla highlights. A beam of iron minerality brings shape and balance to this version, while invigorating acidity and tannins drive the energy. Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault. Drink now through 2035. —J.M.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape comes from La Crau and a few other terroirs and is 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre. Blackberries, black raspberries, peppery herbs, and some solid earthy minerality give way to a medium to full-bodied, ripe, yet also structured 2019. Some 2019s can have a touch of austerity in their tannins, but this is supple and seamless. It will evolve for 10-15 years.” 

More Case Deals In Stock Now @ VWS:

FEATURED CASE DEALS                                                                        VWS PRICE       #   REVIEW      LINK

CAMIGLIANO PODERUCCIO 2018 CS-12 $175.00 8 90JS Link
CAMIGLIANO PODERUCCIO 2018 CS-6 $91.50 3 90JS Link
CLOS DES FEES ROUSSILLON 15 CS-6 $279.00 3 96WA Link
EVODIA OLD VIN GARNACHA 20 CS-12 $145.00 6 91WA Link
FELSINA FONTALLORO 2018 CS-12 $663.00 1 95AG Link
FELSINA FONTALLORO 2018 CS-6 $343.00 2 95AG Link
KUNSTLER WEISS ERD GG 20 CS-6 $279.00 5 97JS Link
MAN CHENIN BLANC 2022 CS-12 $129.00 3 93Dec Link
MOLITOR URZ WURZ SPAT GK 17 CS-6 $219.00 1 95WA Link
NADA BARBARESCO CASOT 18 CS-12 $359.00 1 93WA Link
NADA BARBARESCO CASOT 18 CS-6 $189.00 3 93WA Link
RAUL PEREZ ST JACQUES 2021 CS-12 $249.00 3 93WA Link
SAINT COSME COTES RHONE 22 CS-12 $149.00 5   Link
SCREAMING EAGLE FLIGHT 2020 CS-3 $2,999.00 1 99JS Link


We offer dozens of options for your next holiday fête.
Don’t miss our incredible selection of Champagnes (209 in total!).

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Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!
Be well & drink well.