Tokara celebrates a challenging year with vibrant new vintages


THE wonder of new releases from a standout vintage and the spate of awards for consistently creating exceptional wines hold new meaning for Tokara winemaking team after a year of relentless challenges for the entire South African wine industry.

“One thing I’ve realised since joining Tokara is with this terroir and this team we can achieve anything – it’s very exciting,” says winemaker Stuart Botha.

Showing great consistency after more than 20 vintages across the entire wine offering of this celebrated family owned Stellenbosch wine estate, every wine submitted for scrutiny by UK Master of Wine, Tim Atkin, received 93 points or more, and all five Tokara wines entered for’s 2020 Wine Reports achieved Top 10 status.

“The recognition of our top tier wines by respected commentators in the wake of the Ferreira family’s 20thvintage celebration last year, bodes well for the future of Tokara. We look forward to the next 20 years in the expert hands of our young, energetic cellar team with winemaker Stuart Botha at the helm supported by the experienced vineyard crew headed by seasoned viticulturist Aidan Morton,” says Karl Lambour, Tokara general manager.

Winemaker Stuart Botha in conversation with Dan Nicholl at Tokara’s Vintage Tasting

While the much lauded 2017 vintage played its part, family values and a single minded vision to produce timeless, world class wines are the crux of this success story.

“We’ve seen 2017 become another celebrated vintage. The wines exhibit effortless power with crystalline focus and balance,” says Botha, who was responsible for the barrel selection and final blending of all the 2017 top tier reds during the latter half of 2018.

“My emphasis was to allow the power of the vintage to express itself without dampening the remarkable fruit purity and blurring the lines. It is without doubt that the freshness, perhaps even the youthfulness that these wines currently exhibit, amplifies their age-worthiness and pedigree,” he adds

The Reserve Collection Syrah 2017 which has received critical acclaim, is a fine example of Botha’s adept blending skills. This Top 10 Syrah is described in the 2020 Prescient Shiraz Report as ‘a typically polished effort’.

“The wine comes from a site that produces a most expressive Syrah. Look forward to violet perfume and crushed black pepper on the nose, all continuing to a velvety mid palate and pleasantly chalky finish. Classically styled with a tip of the cap to the new world, it displays the best attributes of both,” says Botha.

The cellar’s two flagship wines, the Director’s Reserve Red and the Director’s Reserve White, enjoy wide international acclaim as a true reflection of everything the farm stands for – refinement, elegance and balance. The Director’s Reserve White 2017 stood up to critical acclaim with a Double Gold and scores of 95/100 from the 2020 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show and Atkin’s South Africa 2020 Special Report.

Since its maiden 2003 vintage, the Cabernet Sauvignon driven Director’s Reserve Red has grown in stature as a world class Bordeaux-style blend and the new 2018 vintage is no exception.

“The hallmark of the 2018 vintage was small berries and bunches with superb concentration. Although Cabernet Sauvignon takes its rightful place and makes up the lion’s share of the blend, a particularly good showing from Petit Verdot sees it making up 15%. I’d describe it as effortless power. There’s a tension in the wine that no doubt calls for decanting in its youth equally suggesting ageability and reward for those who have the patience to wait,” says Botha.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a significant Tokara cornerstone. The forward thinking vision of owners GT and Anne-Marie Ferreira, has seen their vineyards consistently produce exceptional, award winning wines over more than 20 vintages.

The Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, another 2020 TOP 10 champion and Michelangelo International Wine Awards Double Gold medallist, is a true expression of TOKARA’s premium vineyard blocks on the slopes of the Simonsberg.

“Cabernet Sauvignon is King when it comes to red grapes in Stellenbosch.  The marriage between the variety and the TOKARA site is where the magic really begins,” says Botha of this vibrant, richly textured wine with layers of flavour and a long, dry finish.

The Reserve Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2020 from Tokara’s Elgin vineyards, is another showstopper that epitomises cooler climate Sauvignon blanc.

“Originating from arguably the finest Sauvignon blanc terroirs in South Africa, the wine showcases an exquisite aromatic diversity. Headed up by creamy passion fruit and blackcurrant leaf, the nose is tantalising and demands a taste. Zesty green apples interplay with a creamy mid-palate and saline finish making this wine a beckoning call to summer days spent at the seaside,” says Botha.

At Tokara, nothing is left to chance. “The mantra has always been one of no shortcuts – no compromise. From the very beginning Tokara aimed at an international style with a distinct South African identity – an ambition to create something that would be recognised as timeless,” concludes Lambour.

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