Kumeu River

Kumeu, New Zealand

Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay — 2022

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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 2022 vintage was excellent due to favorable weather conditions. The winter of 2021 was mild and wet, and the spring growth was lush and rapid. Flowering was ahead of usual, indicating another early harvest. Dry weather in January and February provided ideal conditions for the development of aroma and flavor. The Chardonnay wines, particularly the Single Vineyards, are shining examples of the Kumeu style, highlighting individual personalities.

  • 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: 12.5%
  • Tasting Notes

    • The 2022 vintage of Rays Road yielded clean and ripe fruit from this distinctive site. The outcome is an exciting Rays Road Chardonnay that has notes of white flowers and lemon on the nose, with a rich texture and lively acidity on the palate.



  • Rays Road Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay — 2022 – Wine Enthusiast – 94 Points

    “There are gentle toasty creamy influences, too. The palate shows lovely freshness and integrated oak on a slippery, round palate. It’s more about texture than flavor here, it’s a lovely drop nonetheless.”

  • Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay — 2022 – 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."

  • Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay — 2022 – Vinous – 91 Points

    "The 2022 Chardonnay Rays Road is restrained and reticent. It's certainly not a fruit bomb of a Hawke's Bay Chardonnay with its pithy precision, slightly salty, flinty character and buzz of nervous acid tension. Rays Road is generally less opulent than most, and the austerity seems to be a character of the site, particularly from the first few vintages. Nevertheless, full malo and 11 months on lees adds texture and padding to the mid-palate. Pear, honeysuckle and melon fruit ally with subtle spiced cedar, which nods to the older French barrels used for fermentation on the medium-long finish."

  • Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay — 2022 – Wine Advocate – 93 Points

    “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.”