Toby Bekkers 2013s

Toby Bekkers 2013s

Matthew Jukes could hardly contain his excitement when he tasted the 2012 Syrah from Toby Bekkers:
Fifteen cases of the 2012 vintage are arriving at Atlas Fine Wines in a few weeks’ time and so I am thrilled to let you know about this exceptional Syrah.  Australia is teeming with winemaking talent and there are so many great wines to savour, but there is an elite band of young people making guaranteed- future-cult-wines who I am keeping a very close eye on.  This wine is one of the most arresting creations I have seen this year.  I have been sitting on this note since May, so I am trying to choose my 200 words carefully.  Suffice to say that this Syrah is impeccably balanced, showing mercurial skill in every gentle wave of flavour lapping along its minutes long palate.  This calibre of earth, spice, oak control and fruit quality is rare anywhere in the world, but virtually unheard of in McLaren Vale.  It is a near perfect interpretation, by its makers, of its vineyards and I adore it.

I think many of our clients picked up on our enthusiasm for the wines of Toby Bekkers’ when we released the hugely impressive 2012 Syrah back in August. This was one of the most striking wines we had encountered from Australia in quite some time and certainly was far, far from a typical McLaren Vale Shiraz. Securing an allocation was a real coup for Atlas; not only are just 100 cases of the Syrah produced each year, but hardly any of it leaves Australia and the interest in the market is considerable. We are delighted to be exclusive on Toby’s wines in the UK and are pleased to have the opportunity to introduce you to two further stunning wines from his growing range:
2013 McLaren Vale Grenache, Toby Bekkers @ £240 per 6 bottles in bond 
2013 McLaren Vale Syrah/Grenache, Toby Bekkers @£240 per 6 bottles in bond 
Toby and Emanuelle Bekkers’ wines  have benefited from numerous glowing endorsements. Jancis Robinson MW’s reviewer Max Allen commented that Bekkers’ Syrah was ‘a new Australian classic in the making’ and Matthew Jukes’ cited this wine as ‘a near perfect interpretation of its vineyards.’ Such commentary is ample reward for the hard work that has gone into the project. On, Lisa Perrotti-Brown awarded the 2012 Grenache 95+ points, commenting on the wine’s great intensity of flavour, the 2012 Syrah achieved the same score.
Through his extensive viticultural consultancy role across the McLaren Vale, Toby is in an enviable position to access the best vineyard sites. His work in the vineyards, which are farmed organically and biodynamically, is matched by his wife Emmanuelle’s expertise in the cellar. Having worked two harvests a year across hemispheres – including with Burgundy’s Jacques Prieur – it is clear that this is a team effort.
The 2013 vintage in McLaren Vale proved to be a successful one. A dry, mild spring and early summer resulted in healthy vines and a relatively early, uncomplicated harvest. Toby highlights the fragrance and finesse of the 2013 vintage as being distinct. James Halliday, a prominent Australian wine critic, rates 2013 as a 9 out of 10 vintage in McLaren Vale, which succinctly underlines the quality!  
Having tasted these two 2013s in the office, I was struck by the precision each of the wines showed – a character trait I noted in the 2012 Syrah. Grenache in Australia has seldom impressed me; it can be a difficult variety with which to produce balanced, complex wines. The coastal influence must perform a moderating role as there is no headiness here. Indeed, the pure Grenache has a terrific, gently peppery, loganberry fruit with hints of scented herbs. The Syrah/ Grenache proved to be an interesting contrast; there is a darker fruit accent evident from the Syrah component which adds a bolder nature to the brighter, more fragrant Grenache. Again, I am so impressed by the poise of Toby’s wines and it is that sense of harmony that sets these apart.
Please note we have very little of each on account of the tiny production volume, so orders may need to be rationed.
2013 McLaren Vale Grenache, Toby Bekkers
£240 per 6 bottles in bond 

The product of very low-yields (the equivalent of 25 hectolitres per hectare) from the sand and clay-based ‘Abri’ vineyard, which lies just 10 kilometres from the coast. Toby monitored this bush-vine Grenache vineyard for 20 years before purchasing the fruit. He chooses to leave 20% of the fruit destemmed. In Toby’s words, Grenache ‘augments the subtle differences of vintage and vineyard in sharper relief than Shiraz. In keeping with the '13 vintage, our 2013 Grenache is a little brighter and more fragrant than the denser, darker 2012.
Deep, bright crimson/ purple in the glass, the aromatics suggest finely ripe fruit with notes of loganberry and red summer berry compote. Showing impressive poise on the palate, there is a complex melange of red berry fruits as well as dark cherry, allied to hints of scented herbs. The velvety texture serves to heighten the impression of elegance and poise, with a long flowing, lightly spicy fruit leading to a long, lingering, lifted finish. Fresh and fine-tuned – a very classy Grenache indeed. Drink 2015-2025 (SL)

2013 McLaren Vale Syrah/Grenache, Toby Bekkers
£240 per 6 bottles in bond

A blend of 70% Shiraz and 30% Grenache, which in Toby’s words, presents McLaren Vale's two standout varieties. He comments on ‘the fragrance of our Grenache and the mouth-filling generosity of our Syrah.’ The fruit is sourced from three vineyards in McLaren Vale, from the Abri vineyard (as above), complemented by fruit from Toby’s own vineyard, namely ‘Gateway’, as well as the ‘Hickinbotham’ vineyard, which followers of Australian wine will know has always contributed to the iconic Clarendon Hills wines.
Darker in colour than the Grenache, this impressive Syrah/ Grenache blend reveals more violet-like nuances on the nose allied to blueberry and blackberry fruit. This is a sleek, impressively well-knit blend in which the Grenache lends lift and brighter fruit notes to the complex Syrah characters of dark berry, pepper and dark chocolate. In need of a little more patience than the pure Grenache, this promises a fascinating evolution. A very complete example with all the components in place and a sense of overriding harmony. One to watch. Drink 2017-2027.(SL)

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