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Kumeu River Chardonnay Success - The Judgement of Farr Vintners


03-Jun-2015
I must concur with and reinforce the praise and recognition that the Brajkovich family of Kumeu River are receiving over their success at a tasting of their Chardonnay wines in the company of esteemed white burgundy wines as organised last month by Stephen Browett, the chairman of Farr Vintners, one of the leading wine merchants based in London.

Stephen Browett has always been a fan of the Kumeu River Chardonnay wines since the earliest days when he tasted possibly the first ever vintage, 1985 or maybe the ground-breaking 1987. Farr Vintners have represented the wines for a quarter of a century, and Browett is seen as one of the strongest supporters of the Kumeu River wine in the U.K. Realising a tasting he’d had in mind for years, he organised a blind tasting of a selection of Kumeu River Chardonnays amidst a collection of top flight white burgundies, with a group of highly experienced and reputable wine trade and writers.

The results of the tasting have been circulated around the media, social at first, and posted on the Farr Vintners website blog (see www.farrvintners.com/blog.php?blog=209), but no doubt the press coverage will be extensive over the coming months. Essentially it was "a stunning victory for Kumeu River”, reports Browett. I list the flights of wines and winners:

Flight One:
Javillier Meursault ‘Clos du Cromin’ 2012
Sauzet Puligny Mntrachet 2012
Kumeu River ‘Estate’ Chardonnay 2012
Dom. Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 2012
Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet 2012
The Kumeu River ‘Estate’ Chardonnay wine was the winner, with Sauzet in second place.

Flight Two:
Niellon Chassagne Montrachet 1er ‘Champs Gains 2010’
J.N. Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er ‘Les Boudriottes’ 2010
Fontaine-Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er ‘Les Vergers’ 2010
Kumeu River ‘Coddington’ Chardonnay 2010
Marquis de Laguiche Chassagne Montrachet 1er ‘Morgeot’ 2010
The Kumeu River ‘Coddington’ Chardonnay was the clear winner, with Fontaine-Gagard second.

Flight Three:
Dom. Comtes Lafon Meursault 2009
Kumeu River ‘Maté’s Vineyard’ Chardonnay 2009
Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault 1er ‘Perrieres’ 2009
Vincent Girardin Meursault ‘Narvaux’ 2009
Joseph Drouhin Meursault 1er ‘ Perrieres’ 2009
There was a tie for first place between the Kumeu River ‘Maté’s’ Chardonnay and Bouchard Pere.

Flight Four:
Fichet Puligny Montrachet 1er ‘Les Referts’ 2007
Sauzet Puligny Montrachet 1er ‘Hameau de Blagny’ 2007
Kumeu River ‘Hunting Hill’ Chardonnay 2007
Dom. Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1er 2007
Joseph Drouhin Puligny Montrachet 1er ‘Les Pucelles’ 2007
Louis Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er ‘Champ Canet’ 2007
The Kumeu River ‘Hunting Hill’ Chardonnay was the highest scored of the flight and the entire tasting, the Sauzet second in the flight.

Though a small and focussed tasting, the results must be taken extremely seriously. There are many such events held around the world, the most famous (notorious) being the ‘Judgement of Paris’. We’ve seen the Torres ‘Ma La Plana’ Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon romp home against top-flight Bordeaux, and closer to home, the ‘Judgement of Taupo’ tastings with Gimblett Gravels reds mixing it with Bordeaux as well.

I rate results from such tastings as important if not more so than the likes of the Decanter Wine Awards and IWSC in some ways (without taking anything away from these important judgings). The focus is keener, and there’s usually a high powered group of tasters. At this tasting, present were the likes of Jancis Robinson MW, Derek Smedley MW, Neal Martin (of The Wine Advocate), Mattew Jukes (Daily Mail), Tina Gellie (Decanter Magazine), Jamie Goode (Wineanorak.com) and Will Lyons of the Wall Street Journal, true movers and shakers.

However, the main result for me is that this is how you have fun with wine! At this level of expertise, the wine tasters are looking out for interesting comparisons, with the findings that can influence the perception of the wine world.
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