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
96/100 Bob Campbell MW
"From grapes grown in the Bridge Pa Triangle. Superbly elegant and fragrant syrah with violet, cranberry, plum and a suggestion of mocha among the more prominent flavours. An elegant wine with a silken and ethereal texture. Should develop well but surprisingly approachable now. 13/6/2019" Drink 2019 - 2025+
5 Stars Michael Cooper
"Syrah is the latest addition to Church Road's elite Tom range. Released in September 2019, the third, 2015 vintage (5*) was mostly (82.5 per cent) estate-grown in the Redstone Vineyard, in the Bridge Pa Triangle of Hawke's Bay; 17.5 per cent was grown in the Gimblett Gravels. Matured for 22 months in French oak barrels (42 per cent new), it has deep, bright, purple-flushed colour and a highly fragrant, floral bouquet. A very elegant, supple, youthful and harmonious red, it is densely packed, with concentrated plum, spice and black pepper flavours, a hint of liquorice, and a long, refined finish. Already dangerously drinkable, it's well worth cellaring to at least 2022."
95.5/100 Cameron Douglas MS
"Crafted using concrete fermenters and an old Cuve, 33 days on skins, 42% New French Oak and 22 Months Barrel ageing. A complex and very appealing bouquet of Syrah with aromas of violets and red flowers, dark berries, an abundance oak wood aromas and pepper. Complex on the palate with mealy tannins, loads of acidity, flavours of dark berries, clove and a little chocolate. A youthful wine still with tension and concentration. The tannins become a little finer as the wine opens up glass (Zalto perfect for this wine). Lengthy finish, a wine that will age well through 2025. Store properly and this wine will reward." Drink 2019 - 2025
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