Kumeu River

Kumeu, New Zealand

Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay — 2021

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  • Introduction

    • Rays Road is Kumeu River’s vineyard site in Hawkes Bay that was purchased in 2017. 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.

  • Vineyard Profile

    • Location: Hawkes Bay, North Island
    • Cultivation: Sustainable
    • Size: 19 acres
    • Vine Age: 4-13 years
    • Clones: 95, 15, 548
    • Soil: Limestone
    • Elevation: 180 meters
    • Training: VSP 2.2m x 1.5m
  • Vintage Report

    • The winter of 2020 was relatively mild and dry. Spring came early, but there were frosts to contend with. Thankfully damage at Rays Road was minimal. Flowering took place well ahead of normal, and it was obvious that the season would be very early this year. The growing season rainfall was only sporadic, maintaining the dry conditions, and the temperatures were moderately warm. These relatively cool to warm, and dry conditions allowed for slow grape maturation, and the development of excellent fruit aromas and flavors. In Hawkes Bay, our Rays Road vineyard performed admirably, with the grapes ripening a few days later than our Kumeu vineyards.

  • Vinification

    • Hand harvested

      Whole-bunch pressed

      Indigenous-yeast fermentation

      100% barrel fermentation

      100% malolactic fermentation

      11 months maturation in barrel

  • Technical Information

    • Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
    • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Tasting Notes

    • With new clonal plantings of Chardonnay in their second 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 rich texture and vibrant acidity on the palate.



  • Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay — 2021 – Wine Spectator – 92 Points

    "Delivers dried pineapple, peach and dried apricot flavors that have an appealing fleshy, juicy texture. Reveals details of orange blossoms, fennel seed and lemon zest that linger wonderfully on the sleek finish."

  • Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay — 2021 – Wine Enthusiast – 96 Points

    “Notes of lemon zest, melon and orange blossom are underpinned by toffee, cream and oak spice. There's richness on the palate. The oak is sculpted into the wine. There's beautifully tingly acidity and a long finish.”

  • Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay — 2021 – James Suckling – 93 Points

    “Mangoes, lemon curd, baked apples, hazelnuts, custard and some salted caramel. Ripe and creamy with a full body. Tropical fruit and buttery layers balanced by bright acidity.”