New edition joins vintage list for label

By Roger Moroneyroger.moroney@hbtoday.co.nz

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It has been four years in the gradual making and Church Road winemaker Chris Scott is dubbing it the best 'TOM' wine the winery has yet released.

It is the TOM Cabernet Merlot 2009, which along with the TOM Chardonnay 2010, is the latest edition to the exclusive TOM range which has been produced during the past 15 years only in what the winery considers to be outstanding vintages.

"The 2009 Hawke's Bay vintage provided excellent growing conditions with warm, dry weather and heat in February that gave optimum ripeness and flavour development," Mr Scott said.

"We are delighted with the quality of the TOM Cabernet Merlot 2009 which we believe is the best TOM we've ever released."

The limited edition wines, with each bottle individually numbered, are named in tribute to Tom McDonald - one of the pioneers of Hawke's Bay and New Zealand winemaking.

He was the patriarch of the Church Road winery for more than 50 years. It was his almost legendary place in winemaking which spurred Mr Scott to create the finest varieties in his name.

It is the first time the winery has released both the red and the white varieties of TOM at the same time.

The timing was simply right, given the respective vintages, Mr Scott said.

"The 2010 was one of the best chardonnay vintages we have seen in Hawke's Bay with stunning autumn growing conditions."

Mr Scott described the winemaking process as taking a "very natural low-intervention approach" which included wild fermentation of unclarified juice followed by fermentations in a special selection of French oak barrels.

He described the results as "overlaid complex aromas and flavours."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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