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
"Made from grapes grown on clay/limestone soils of the Tuki Tuki vineyard that lies 4km inland from the coast. An impressive chardonnay, particularly when compared to Church Road's excellent second-string chardonnay, Grande Reserve. It's a richer and more complex wine with weight, concentration and a silken texture. I noted peach, struck flint, mineral, hazelnut, caramel and brioche. Delicious now but no rush 13/6/2019." Drink 2019 - 2024
5 Stars Michael Cooper
"Still unfolding, the tightly structured 2016 vintage (5*), released in September 2019, was estate-grown in the Tuki Tuki Vineyard, 4 km from the coast, on a west-facing clay slope cooled by afternoon sea breezes. Hand-picked, it was fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured for 11 months in French oak barriques (43 per cent new). Bright yellow/pale gold, with a fragrant, slightly smoky, toasty bouquet, it is a powerful wine, mouthfilling, with deep, youthful, citrus and stonefruit flavours, barrel-ferment complexity, fresh acidity and a very long finish. Best drinking 2021+."
95/100 Cameron Douglas MS
"From 100% Tuki Tuki Vineyard fruit - The bouquet of this Chardonnay is impressive beginning with an elegant, flinty, leesy note, quite complex with sweet spices of oak, then lemon, grapefruit and white peach. A complete wine on the palate with fruit and oak flavours that mirror the nose. Fine wood tannins, medium+ acidity, creamy texture and long dry finish. With 43% New French Oak and whole bunch press being used adds to a youthful structure overall. The flinty note returns adding complexity and charm. Balanced and well made, great with food. Drinking well now and through 2024.-- This Chardonnay is actually the best and most modern expression I’ve had from the TOM range. Winemaker Chris Scott suggests this wine has five to six years ageing and maturation potential ahead. He for sure knows his wine best. I wholly agree, but with great cellar conditions this wine can easily mature through 2026." Drink 2019 - 2024
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