Church Road 1 Merlot 2016 (Hawke’s Bay)
As one of the oldest wineries in New Zealand, Church Road needs no introduction. Today, winemaker Chris Scott continues the work of Tom McDonald, who crafted some of Hawke’s Bay’s most famous red wines of the mid-20th century. The idea behind the new ONE range, sitting in between the winery’s iconic TOM series and its Grand Reserve series, is for each bottling to come from one vineyard and reflect the expression of one variety as interpreted by one winemaker. At five years old, this wine is just beginning to reveal itself; very concentrated, with chewy tannins and layers of fruit and oak, combining mouth- filling power and richness typical of merlot with the bright acidity and elegance of the cool climate of Hawke’s Bay. Ben Glover gave it the ultimate winemaker’s compliment, “very smart”. It wouldn’t be a crime to open this now but it can clearly sleep in a cellar until its 10th birthday.