Kumeu River

Kumeu, New Zealand

Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay – 2018

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  • Vineyard Profile

    • Rays Road is Kumeu River’s new vineyard site in Hawkes Bay. This limestone hillside is at 180 meters altitude, with a northerly aspect. It is dry-farmed to yield high quality grapes for wine under the Rays Road name for the 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.

    • Location: Hawkes Bay, North Island
    • Cultivation: Sustainable
    • Size: 1.2 hectares (currently planted with Chardonnay; the entire vineyard is 30 hectares)
    • Vine Age: Planted 2008
    • Clones: 95
    • Soil: Limestone
    • Elevation: 180 meters
    • Training: VSP 2.2m x 1.5m
  • 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
  • Tasting Notes

    • All of our Chardonnay from 2018 is supple and approachable, but the limestone soils of this vineyard give quite a different expression to the vineyards we have in Kumeu. The wine is fragrant and flinty with a hint of pink grapefruit. The palate is supple but with a limestone edge that is piercing and lingering. It will be interesting to see how this wine develops, but we fully expect to see it improve with bottle age along the same lines as the other Kumeu River wines.



  • Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay – 2018 – Jancis Robinson – 17 Points

    Quite a 'stony' nose and already lots of fun. Seems more than a year more evolved than the 2019. At a very nice stage now. Fresh and minerally and super-crisp but quite satisfying and not meagre at all. Super-clean. Just right for current drinking. If only all white burgundy offered this accessibility (I'm talking both price and taste). Really quite long. A neat, complete wine. At the moment I prefer this to the more intense but unformed Rays Road 2019.

  • Kumeu River Chardonnay, Rays Road, Hawkes Bay – 2018 – James Suckling – 92 Points

    From a newly acquired site in Hawke’s Bay, this has a gently waxy edge and displays a wealth of ripe melon and pears. The palate is supple and mellow, very even and elegant with effortless length. Drink now. Screw cap.