Dating from 1897, when Bartholomew Steinmetz planted his vineyard next to Church Road, it is now one of the oldest wineries in the country. Steinmetz returned to his native Luxembourg in the 1920s, leaving his winery in the hands of the 19-year-old Tom McDonald, who had been working for him since his early teens. McDonald later bought the winery and set to making the first quality red wines in New Zealand, releasing the country's first commercial Cabernet Sauvignon in 1949. Quality steadily increased and by the 1960s New Zealand's wine connoisseurs snapped up McDonald's red wines year after year. Current winemaker Chris Scott came up through the ranks first as a cellar hand and vineyard worker and eventually, after a few vintages elsewhere, to winemaker. The “Tom” wines are a tribute to McDonald, only produced in exceptional vintages.
What The Critics Say
5 Stars Michael Cooper
"The 2014 vintage (5*), released in mid 2017, is Chardonnay on the grand scale. Grown mostly (92 per cent) in the company's Tuki Tuki Vineyard, planted on a west-facing clay slope cooled by afternoon sea breezes, it was hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured for 11 months on its full yeast lees, with periodic stirring, in French oak barriques (28 per cent new). After another four months in old oak casks, it was then lees-aged in tanks for a further year, prior to bottling. Light yellow/green, it has a very rich, ripe, complex bouquet, leading into a powerful, mouthfilling wine with good acidity, deep, peachy, complex flavours, well-integrated oak, and a vaguely toasty, long finish. Best drinking 2019+."
19.50/20 Raymond Chan
"Brilliant straw-yellow colour with pale gold hues. This has a very fine, firmly bound and tightly concentrated nose with complex aromas of white stonefruits melded with minerally and gunflint-like sulphide reductive detail. The fruit richness shines, showing fragrance, revealing citrus notes. Nutty oak and creamy barrel-ferment layers emerge. This has a superb balance of fruit, winemaking inputs and complexity. Medium-full bodied, the palate exudes power and intensity, with a firmly concentrated core of rich and luscious white stonefruits and citrus fruits, interwoven with flint and minerals with nutty oak adding interest. The flavours are balanced by fresh acid cut and underlined by subtle alcoholic power and drive. This has excellent linearity, and the wine carries to a sustained finish with refined textures. The wine will develop over the next 5+ years. 92% clone 15 from Tuki Tuki and 8% clone 95 from Haumoana, hand-picked and WBP directly to barrel for indigenous yeast fermentation to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 28% new French oak barrique, the wine undergoing batonnage and 100% MLF, blended and aged a further 4 months in seasoned oak. 19.5+/20 May 2017 RRP $150.00."
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