Selected for the 2020 Fine Wines of New Zealand List
66% Cabernet Sauvignon & 34% Merlot
This iconic, full-bodied red wine is from an exceptional Hawke's Bay vintage and represents the best that the region can produce. Crafted from grapes harvested from low-yielding vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pa, this wine was made using Bordeaux-style winemaking techniques to emphasise complexity of flavour and aroma, power and elegance on the palate, with a structure that gives the wine great ageing potential.
Winery notes (2015 Vintage)
"Tom McDonald was a passionate winemaker and one of the earliest pioneers of quality winemaking in New Zealand. Produced only in outstanding vintages, TOM wines are of the most exceptional character and quality. Wearing the TOM label is our tribute to one of New Zealand's great winemaking legends.
Built around a core of beautifully ripe dark berryfruit, plum and black cherry, the wine also displays lifted aromatic notes of violet, lavender, vanilla, cedar and thyme. The palate is full bodied and powerful with a plush richness and weight balanced by gentle acidity and an exceptionally fine grained, ripe tannin structure that lends the wine great presence across the full length of the palate.
66% Cabernet Sauvignon and 34% Merlot sourced from the Bridge Pa Triangle winegrowing district and The Gimblett Vineyard. Selective harvesting was employed to target only the lowest vigour soils, down to part rows where required. The fruit was then destemmed, lightly crushed, and fermented warm in open top French oak cuves. The caps were regularly broken and wetted to ensure a steady, gentle extraction. The resultant wine was filled to a selection of the finest French oak barrels (74% new) for 20 months subsequent maturation. The final wine has been bottled unfined and unfiltered to maximise quality."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2015 Vintage)
"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 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."
5 Stars & 97/100 Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, June 2019 (2015 Vintage)
"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. Drink 2019 – 2027."
95/100 Cameron Douglas MS, June 2019 (2015 Vintage)
"A bouquet of a very young wine still with dark berry fruits, spices 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. Best from 2022 through 2032."