I have raved about the quality of Toby Bekkers’ wines before – they are truly extraordinary, and I am pleased to say that a good number of our clients have cottoned on to this now. What makes them so special is the purity and balance; they are such fresh wines, not the first adjective that springs to mind when tasting a broad array of South Australian wines. For sure, winemaking styles in Australia have undergone a stylistic shift, but the Bekkers wines still stand out as being remarkable given their elegance and restraint.
The 2018s are exceptional even by Toby’s standards – they are the product of an even growing season with a good shift between day and night-time temperatures, creating fragrant aromatics and retaining acidity. There were no real dramas in the 2018 vintage and the fruit was harvested in very fine condition, albeit a touch later and with berry size a touch smaller than the norm. This led to fine concentration in the resultant wines, but the more even season resulted in slightly lower alcohol levels than we have witnessed in recent vintages.
The Bekkers wines are always elegant and balanced, but their winemaking aims have been aided by a fascinating vintage that favours their approach. I have rated so many examples from Bekkers incredibly highly, the 2016s being a notable high point, but the refinement in the 2018s is something different and renders these wines incredibly compelling. If you haven’t tasted these before and are intrigued, I would urge you to take the plunge.
By way of background, Toby is a hugely respected vineyard consultant and a pioneer of organic and biodynamic viticulture. His wife, Emanuelle, is a French winemaking consultant, who ended up in Australia by way of winemaking roles at Hardy’s. Together they have a near perfect blend of skills!
Toby’s vast knowledge of the growers, soils and vines provides Emma with the best fruit for the winemaking. A small, 6-hectare plot of grenache vines planted in the 1930s, for example, caught Toby’s eye nearly two decades ago and he’s fostered a strong relationship with the grower. Toby’s attention to detail is matched by Emma’s exacting standards in the winery. Fruit is handpicked and then meticulously sorted. It is then vinified at the neighbouring state-of-the-art winery Yangarra and then transferred to Bekkers’ own barrel room.
While their Syrah has garnered most of the plaudits to date, Grenache is experiencing something of a renaissance in the McLaren Vale. Often associated with very fruit forward, easy drinking wines in Australia, in deft hands Grenache can achieve complexity and a terrific silkiness to the fruit. On sandy soils at high elevations it retains it freshness. It is the sophistication of the Bekkers Grenache that impresses. ‘To get the best out of Grenache, you’ve got to put it in a bonsai pot’ says Toby with a smile – it hints at the attention that the Bekkers bring to bear on the wines.
I have written it before but this is a special, remarkably skilled producer, in a fascinating region, producing such precise, pure wines in a very fine vintage – now that is a head-turning combination.
Please see below for my notes as well as the notes and scores from Australian wine critic, James Halliday, whose reviews are renowned for their accuracy – he is not renowned for dishing out lofty scores routinely.
Please also note that the Bekkers wines are exclusive to Atlas in the UK. The value offered for wines of this calibre is remarkably high.
Please let us know of your interest.
All the best,