The Brajkovich family have carved out a reputation second to none for Chardonnay and every new release adds to that reputation.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
"If you can taste history, duty, and family pride in a glass, it’s there in the Kumeu River Chardonnays… now producing some of New Zealand’s greatest Chardonnays, not to mention the world’s."
Winery notes (2020 Vintage)
"Rays Road is Kumeu River’s new vineyard site in Hawkes Bay. This limestone hillside is at 180 m altitude, with a northerly aspect. It is dry-farmed to yield high quality grapes for wine under the Rays Road name for our Kumeu River label. This Chardonnay was hand-harvested, whole bunch pressed and fermented with wild yeast in older French Oak barrels to give a wine that is zesty and fragrant, with mineral complexity that is very true to its site.
With the 2020 vintage Rays Road produced the best fruit we have seen yet from this unique site. With new clonal plantings of Chardonnay in their first year of production, we were able to blend some extra ripeness and richness with the fresh limestone vibrancy of the existing vines. The result is an exciting Rays Road Chardonnay showing white flowers and lemon on the nose, with vibrant acidity and tingly oyster-shell minerality on the palate."
Winemaker, Michael Brajkovich MW (2020 Vintage)
"We expect the 2020s to be terrific in seven to 10 years. It is a vintage that we rank at the very top of anything we have seen over the past 40 years."
5 Stars & 95/100 Bob Campbell MW, July 2021 (2020 Vintage)
"Gently aromatic chardonnay with butterscotch, grapefruit marmalade, peach and oyster-shell supported by fruity acidity. Impressive wine from a top vintage. Accessible now but with the potential to evolve further in the next few years."
95/100 James Suckling (2020 Vintage)
"This is a fuller style from Hawke’s Bay and quite different from the rest of the Kumeu range of chardonnays. Bold, ripe peaches dominate the nose and palate. The texture is impressively silky and smooth. Very fleshy and complete. Impressive."
93/100 Thomas Parker MW (2020 Vintage)
"Bright, pale yellow colour in the glass. This has a fresh, cool vibrancy on the nose but this year there is a little more richness and ripeness of fruit, bringing a lightly peachy character against a fresh citrus core. The palate follows, with real salinity and a cool note of green fruit before creamy pears and a hint of something riper come through. Silky and fine, this is long and subtle, all about the chalky, textural depth it possesses."
Rated Excellent & 93/100 Cameron Douglas MS, August 2021 (2020 Vintage)
"Warm and richly scented bouquet. Has ripe fruit and freshness with slightly warmer fruits at the core, red apple and yellow peach, moments of quince and sweet meyer lemon, grapefruit and a hint of tropical fruit. The palate reflects the bouquet exactly, driven by the core of fruit then some quieter layers of lees and oak. Fresh and lively acid line, some very fine skin tannins and satin cream texture. Lovely balance and length. Drinking well now with warmth and generosity. Holds true to the KR style of purity and freshness, length and elegance. Best from 2022 through 2028+. Older barrel with some new barrel-ferment complexity."
17/20 JancisRobinson.com (2020 Vintage)
"Neat and well integrated, quite restrained. And already very accessible though with light, fine tannins and quite opulent fruit on the front palate. Sprightly. Lemon-pastille flavour. Very long. Beautifully made."