2015 Church Road Tom Cabernet Merlot
66% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon
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
97/100 Bob Campbell MW
"A blend of two-thirds cabernet sauvignon and one-third merlot grown on the Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pa Triangle subregions. Fine-boned red with a silken, seamless texture and a very appealing dark berry, spice and subtle floral aroma. This is a truly powerful yet supremely elegant red with potential to become even more exciting with bottle age. 13/6/2019" Drink 2019 - 2027
5 Stars Michael Cooper
"Pernod Ricard NZ's top Hawke's Bay red honours pioneer winemaker Tom McDonald, a driving force behind New Zealand's first prestige red, McWilliam's Cabernet Sauvignon (first vintage 1965). The early releases of Tom in the mid-1990s were Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant, but from 1998 onwards, Merlot emerged as an equally crucial part of the recipe. Typically a wine of great finesse, it is savoury, complex and more akin to a quality Bordeaux than other New World reds. Released in September 2019, the 2015 vintage (5*) is arguably one of the greatest reds ever crafted in New Zealand. A very dark blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (66 per cent), estate-grown in the Redstone Vineyard, in the Bridge Pa Triangle, and Merlot (34 per cent), estate-grown in the Gimblett Vineyard and Redstone Vineyard, it was matured for 20 months in French oak barriques (74 per cent new). A commanding wine, it is dark and sturdy, but not heavy, with rich, lush blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, showing lovely vibrancy, depth, complexity and harmony. Already delicious, it should flourish in the cellar for a couple of decades."
95/100 Cameron Douglas MS
"This really is the foundation of Tom McDonald’s vision - a full-bodied Hawkes Bay red wine based on Cabernet. If he were with us today I’m sure he’d be very proud of the work winemaker Chris Scott has done. A bouquet of a very young wine still with dark berry fruits, spics and new leather. Violets and plums, dark spices and tobacco, bell-pepper and smoky wood. Dry on the palate with youthful, quite powerful tannins, matched with acidity and a core of fruit. Flavours of dark berries, sweet oak and violets, plenty of youthful tension and quite Bordeaux like. After 30 minutes in glass (Zalto perfect for this wine) the wine begins to show what it may be like in five years from now. A lovely example, very young, great potential." Drink 2022 - 2032
|Variety||Cabernet Merlot Blend|
|Maturity||2019 - 2032|
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