Kumeu River Chardonnay
versus white Burgundy
An amazing blind taste off at Farr Vintners
was a remarkable tasting, held at Farr Vintners. It brought together
New Zealandís most famous Chardonnay producer,
Kumeu River, and some
top white Burgundies. Invited to pass judgment on
these wines were a high-profile bunch of wine writers and
merchants, and me. The tasting was held single blind, so we knew
which wines were in each flight.
and Jancis Robinson tasting
each flight we called out our scores (out of 20), and we were also
asked to indicate which wine in the flight we thought was the Kiwi
imposter. This was much harder than you might imagine.
Iím giving my notes, plus my scores out of 100, plus the group
average score out of 20. As you can see, Kumeu River came out
incredibly well. I think the first thing that most of us will have
done straight after the tasting is to go online and see who has
stocks of Kumeu River. They are sensationally good wines.
think that Chardonnay is one area where the best New World producers
have nothing to fear in comparative blind tastings. With Pinot Noir
it would be a different story: while Iím a fan of New World Pinot, a
similar tasting would see them sticking out more clearly when
matched with top Burgundies.
Javiller Meursault Clos du Cromin 2012 Burgundy, France
Sweetly fruited and
quite rounded, this is a fresh, gentle wine with lovely citrus fruit
and a hint of pineapple richness, as well as a slight saltiness.
Delicate and midweight. 92/100 (16.3)
Sauzet Puligny Montrachet 2012 Burgundy, France
matchsticky and mineral on the nose. Lively and fresh with pear and
citrus fruit on the palate. Linear and reductive and quite appealing
if a bit one dimensional at the moment. 93/100 (16.54)
River Estate Chardonnay 2012 Kumeu, New Zealand
Fine and fresh with
a pure, mineral core and lovely precision. Gentle but bright with
midweight citrus and pear as well as subtle hazelnut and toast.
Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 2012 Burgundy, France
Bright, crisp and pure with focused linear citrus and pear
fruit. Just a hint of spicy minerality here. Understated. 91/100
Niellon Chassagne Montrachet Champs Gain 2010, Burgundy, France
Very fine, nutty, citrus and pear nose with a hint of fennel.
Quite powerful with a lean, lemony palate and some real finesse.
Pretty but with edges. 93/100 (16.14)
Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet Boudriottes 2010 Burgundy, France
Pear and pith nose with some toast and honey. Lemony and salty
on the palate with nice density and intensity and a mineral twist.
Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet Vergers 2010 Burgundy, France
Sweet spun sugar and
honeycomb edge to the nose with appealing peach and pear fruit. The
palate is bold and linear with some sweetness to the fruit. Quite
broad and full. 92/100 (16.75)
Kumeu River Coddington Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 Kumeu, New Zealand
Fine mineral, toasty nose. Lively citrus and pear fruit with a
stylish breadth and lovely focus, showing notes of white peach and
subtle toast. Youthful and lovely. 94/100 (17.29)
Laguiche Chassagne Montrachet Morgeots 2010 Burgundy, France
Ripe and exotic with a distinctive botrytis-like apricot
character to the nose. Open and supple with peach and pear fruit.
Linear and fruit driven with this rather unusual exotic personality.
Comtes Lafon Meursault 2009 Burgundy, France
Fine, expressive, mineral and toasty on the nose. Very taut with
pear and spice notes. The palate is fresh and mineral with a precise
toasty quality and real precision. 94/100 (16.75)
Kumeu River Matť's
Vineyard Chardonnay 2009 Kumeu, New Zealand
Sweet spun sugar
edge to the nose: fine, sweet, pure and linear with generous pear
and white peach fruit. Ripe, expressive style, generous and fruity.
Bouchard Meursault PerriŤres
2009 Burgundy, France
smooth with nice sweet, textured, open pear, quince and melon notes
with a hint of pineapple. Rich, fruity style. 92/100 (17.14)
Meursault Narvaux 2009 Burgundy, France
Sweet and ripe with
baked appleand caramel notes. Quite developed with a honeyed,
savoury edge. On its way out. 87/100 (13.07)
Drouhin Meursault PerriŤres
2009 Burgundy, France
Supple, ripe and sweet with pear and white peach fruit and a
nice spicy quality. Ripe, generous fruit. Mealy, spicy finish.
Puligny Montrachet Les Referts 2007 Burgundy, France
Powerful and intense
with toast, spice, pear and nuts on the nose. Lively, fresh and
intense on the palate with a spicy, mineral edge. Has a core of
lemony acidity. Precise and profound. 96/100 (16.54)
Puligny Montrachet Hameau de Blagny 2007 Burgundy, France
Hints of cabbage and
herbs (but nice) to the precise citrus and white peach nose. Lively,
focused and fresh with a herb-tinged palate and lovely acidity.
River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2007 Kumeu, New Zealand
Fine and sweetly
fruited with some spicy, nutty notes on the nose. Lively, fresh,
lemony palate with keen acidity. Very linear and pure with a bright
lemony finish. 94/100 (17.54)
Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Clavoillons 2007 Burgundy, France
edge to the nose. Rich, sweet apple and pear fruit but showing some
premature development, with baked apples and bold, sweet pear fruit.
Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles 2007 Burgundy, France
spiced nose with some buttery notes. Sweet, open, savoury citrus and
ripe apple fruit on the palate with some evolution but maintaining
freshness. 92/100 (15.93)
Louis Carillon Puligny Montrachet Champ Canet 2007 Burgundy, France
Mellow, smooth and sweet with ripe pear, apple and peach fruit,
as well as a hint of figginess. Broad and sweetly fruited. 91/100
River: an article from a visit and an extensive vertical tasting
Central Otago, New Zealand (series)
Martinborough, New Zealand (series)
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