Church Road Tom Merlot/Cabernet (2016)

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. The 2016 vintage (5*) is a blend of Merlot (81 per cent), estate-grown in the Gimblett Gravels, and Cabernet Sauvignon (19 per cent), estate-grown in the Redstone Vineyard, in the Bridge Pa Triangle. It was matured for 18 months in French oak barrels (62 per cent new). Already delicious, it is a powerful, fleshy, rich red, with impressive concentration and fine, supple tannins. Highly fragrant, it is sweet-fruited, with dense, plummy, spicy flavours, still unfolding. Is it as profound as the commanding, more Cabernet Sauvignon-based 2015 vintage? I don't think so, but it's still a very classy red. Open 2023+.

Details

Type: Red Wines
Variety: Merlot
Vintage: 2016
Overall Rating for All Vintages Tasted: ★★★★★ – 5 Stars
Price: $220 NZD
Sweetness: DRY
Value for Money: AV

Buyer’s Guide Edition: 2021

This wine is a Super Classic.

When to drink: 2023

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