Church Road McDonald Series Merlot Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$
14.5% alc. Deep carmine colour.
From the celebrated 2013 vintage in the Bay. Tasted over two nights.
First impression: complex and leafy on the nose, odd for a good year, brusqueness and drying tannin on palate, but with potential to age, the shortness on palate perhaps indicating the wine has stalled, with another 2-3 years needed to kick on to a stage when it will begin drinking really well.
Second look after a day open: dark fruits, roses, cedar and vanilla. Soft and aromatic. Unctuous and delicious in the mouth with rich flavours of dark plums, dark red roses, and tobacco to match bouquet. Balanced. Drying tannins offset by fresh acidity, and enveloped by the typical varietal softness of Merlot.
Highly Recommended 90 points
From the Cellar: Church Road McDonald Series Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2009 – $$
Dark garnet claret. 13.5% alc.
Warm dense black fruit, with secondary aroma characters emerging from the mix. Red rose florals, oak and vanilla notes. This wine expresses brooding power.
There is great power and structure on the palate. It is tannic and weighty, and not too joined up yet. Flavours of licorice and cassis as you would expect. I am used to the richness that Merlot would have given to a blend, so on it’s own the Cabernet is somewhat angular, flinty and biscuit-y, with a drying finish. Is there enough body to balance the power? Just.
The structure helped the wine hang together better and soften markedly the next day, when it drank very well, and I drained the bottle to the last. I could have held this for another eight years… 90 points.
Church Road McDonald Series Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2015 – $
13.5% Pale gold $$
Premium fruit, whole-bunch pressed and wild fermented.
Layered, funky, old-world nose, with nutty and crusty bread aromas. A little reductive, which appeals to me.
Weighty ripe stonefruit in the mouth up front; then there is the soft mouthfeel in the mid-palate from the malo treatment, laying off then to the texture and bitterness of toasty oak. A raspy stoic finish.
I liked it very much. A bit more acidity would make this champion.