GOURMET TRAVELLER WINE
Author: Nick Ryan – Wines To Watch
Toby Bekkers Syrah
All the usual information is on the label of this boldly priced debut wine from viticultural guru Toby Bekkers and his French-born wife Emmanuelle but it’s the way it’s presented that tells you all you need to know about what’s important here.
While many would make their own name the label’s major statement, the more modest Bekkers duo are united in their belief that McLaren Vale is the real hero and should take pride of place. “We believe in this place wholeheartedly,” says Bekkers, whose connection to the region is generational. “And this is the way for us to make that statement.”
The 2011 Bekkers McLaren Vale Syrah (A$110) is a statement, but sung softly rather than shouted. Just as the Paradox puts a new spin on Barossa shiraz, this wine does it, if anything even more emphatically for McLaren Vale. “I think we tend to try and over extract too much from our fruit here,” he offers, “to squeeze every last bit of goodness out of it. Maybe we should be thinking more about drawing out what’s good and leaving the rubbish behind.”
This is a wine that shows the clear thinking behind its conception and the calmness of its birth. Fruit sourced mainly from the Gateway Vineyard up on Seaview Ridge is meticulously sorted, undergoes the gentlest of ferments possible before being cuddled through a basket press and put into barrels. The result is a wine of depth, definition and clarity, beautifully supple and textured like fine velvet. Its milk chocolate and black cherry characters are what we might expect from McLaren Vale, its poise, elegance and quiet confidence are what we should demand.