I picked the wrong day to work from home it seems. There was an exciting delivery into the office today in the form of the 2019s from Bekkers…Simon and Richard have just tasted and are waxing lyrical about the quality on show across the three wines. So they have sent me their tasting notes and subsequently darted off to lunches leaving me to write it up. Typical!
The Bekkers wines will be familiar to many of you. After all, we have been raving about the quality of these wines for six years now, and they are firmly established as an Atlas favourite; remarkably pure, elegant and fresh wines, which challenge many people’s preconceptions of McLaren Vale. Unsurprisingly, many of our clients have now cottoned onto how extraordinary these wines are. If you are yet to try these wines and are intrigued, I would urge you to take the plunge.
By way of background, Toby Bekkers is a hugely respected vineyard consultant and a pioneer of organic and biodynamic viticulture. His wife, Emmanuelle, 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.
The 2019s from Bekkers show brilliantly (I am told!) – a little more structured than the 2018s, the 2019s nonetheless showcase that trademark Bekkers freshness and poise, with an incredible purity to the fruit. The 2019 vintage was hotter and drier than the norm – this can present challenges to growers, who must be vigilant to protect the vines from water stress and the grapes from sunburn. However, in the hands of such attentive and skilled growers as the Bekkers family, there can be benefits to such conditions; yields are naturally lowered, increasing the overall concentration, enhancing the tannins and acidity in the grapes as well as the aromatics and flavour intensity. Such is the case across the Bekkers’ range this year.
While their Syrah has garnered most of the plaudits to date, Grenache is experiencing something of a renaissance in 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 its 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 am looking forward to tasting these wines tomorrow when I am in the office, so, in the absence of my own note, please see notes from Simon alongside those of Huon Hooke of The Real Review below. Simon tasted the wines today and gave me the following message to accompany his tasting notes: ‘Brilliant is an overused word. These wines are brilliant. Refined, persistent and pure.’ Safe to say the 2019s from Bekkers have his endorsement!
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.