Due to the hype surrounding this wine, we managed to secure an early pre-release of the highly lauded 2017 Tokar Shiraz. Made by Martin Siebert (you might know him from the First Foot Forward wines he makes under his own label), this Shiraz is nothing short of a miraculous example of the Yarra style.
Cool-climate to a tee, this is drenched with violets, pepperberries, spice, cedar and tar. The fruit is very much on the raspberry side at this early stage in its life, but it will certainly unfurl into something great with time in bottle. Classic Yarra Shiraz, and not dissimilar to the great wines of Yarra Yering.
Our Shiraz block was hand picked in late February and much of the fruit was foot stomped to release the juice from the bunches (this wine is a large portion whole bunch fermented) before undergoing fermentation with wild yeasts. The warm spice aromas of the ferment were deliciously intoxicating! A short post-ferment maceration soaked the tannins from the skins and stalks before pressing off to barrel (French oak). A slow, wild malolactic fermentation over the cold winter followed and the wine was then prepared for bottling whilst still vibrant. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration.
Attractive, deep violet in colour. A little shy at first, with aromas of graphite stone and bay leaf, the wine soon comes to life to display its full plumage of boysenberry, cloves and pink peppercorn. The palate has both volume and length, with a gentle lingering grip on the finish (fine, youthful tannins). The fruit is coated in spice with this wine as juicy raspberries intermingle with cedar, myrtle and anise. This is modern Australian Shiraz inspired more by Northern Rhone than Barossa. Delicious drinking now but no rush (I would love to revisit this one in 10 years).
Tokar Estate was born in 1995. Leon Tokar, stumbled across the location by chance and brought his wife Rita, to view the property. They took in the incredible view, and by that night it was theirs. Leon and Rita originally dreamed of a weekender and hobby farm, but the winemaking potential of the site, sandwiched between some of the Yarra Valley’s most famous vineyards, was too good to ignore. The Tokar family have never shied away from a challenge, and by 1999 they had 30 acres under vine. The family laboured to transform land that was covered in thistles, tussock grass and snakes into a high quality vineyard. Leon and Rita learnt from the established vignerons who were their neighbours, but they soon developed a reputation as trailblazers in the Yarra Valley. In addition to planting traditional varieties (Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay) they were the first in the valley to plant the Spanish varietal Tempranillo. The Tokar Estate label was launched in 1999 and the wines soon developed a following. Today, Tokar Estate has two generations working alongside each other. They have had immense success in recent years and their wines have received many accolades. Together with their winemaker, Martin Siebert, they are continually working to finesse their bold and distinctive wine style. The hard work and attention to detail that defined the beginnings of Tokar Estate continues to underpin everything they do.
ROYAL MELBOURNE WINE SHOW
JAMES HALLIDAY - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
Two ferments, one 100% destemmed, the other 100% whole bunch, wild-fermented. Multiple show awards attest to the success of the unusual vinification. Spicy, savoury, stalky.
CAMPBELL MATTINSON - THE WINE FRONT
Yarra Valley shiraz in fine form. Beautifully balanced and fruited. Shot with spice. Threaded with fine-grained tannin. Little more you could hope or ask for. Cherries, peppers, plums and cloves. Has a real feeling of ‘spread’ top it. Kudos.
Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz in Show - Royal Melbourne Wine Show 2018
96 Points & Gold Medal - Royal Melbourne Wine Show