The wines of Bekkers
Elegant wines from Toby and Emmanuele Bekkers in Australia's
Emmanuelle Bekkers run the sort of winery that I'd love to run! It
is small and focused, and they have have no employees. They make
lovely wine from good terroirs. And they get to live in McLaren
Vale, close enough to Adelaide but also near to some very nice
Toby has a
background in viticulture, and he's been running vineyards in the
region for 20 years. He grew up here, and recently was the general
manager at Paxton, overseeing its transition to biodynamics. This
was quite a task, with 200 acres of vineyards. Emmanuelle is
French-born and trained as a winemaker. She moved to Australia 20
In 2010 Toby
resigned from Paxton and they moved to Toulon in France for a year.
'It has opened our eyes to what is possible here,' says Toby.
'There's so much hidden potential.' They decided to do something
that showed just how good McLaren Vale could be: to be an 'emblem
for the region'.
want to take the mid-palate generosity of the McLaren Vale,' says Toby.
'It's a huge asset but only if we avoid letting the wines become
big, syrupy and porty. The key to fine wine is texture.'
They own the
vineyard the cellar door is on, and also have co-ownership of a
couple of more vineyards. In addition, they buy some fruit from
other growers. Toby still does viticultural consultancy in the
region, as well as working in Barossa and Margaret River.
Wines are made at Yangarra,
where one of the appeals was access to a Mistral sorting machine.
There's 15-20% whole bunch at the bottom of each tank and then the
rest is destemmed and sorted, with whole berries going into the
vats. It is kept cold for as long as possible before fermentation to
extract the pretty aromatics and colour when there's no alcohol
believes in attention to detail and gentle handling of the fruit.
'Here in the past the attitude was if there's anything left behind
you haven't done your job,' he comments, referring to the big,
extracted style of red wine that was traditionally made in the
especially keen on McLaren Vale Grenache, although he thinks it can
be a challenge to make well. 'When you get it right, there aren't
too many places in the world who can do Grenache like us. Grenache
here is something really special.'
Just three reds are made here, and
production is currently 600 cases, but it has the potential to rise
to 1100 in the 2016 vintage. The business is based on direct to
consumer with a bit of positioning in top-end restaurants. Some of
the wine comes to the UK via Atlas.
Bekkers Grenache 2014 McLaren
Very fine and expressive: not at
all heavy. Sweet and ripe but very pretty with a lovely silky
texture and some fine spiciness, as well as a hint of pepper.
There's lushness here but also prettiness with sweet red fruits. A
lovely wine that's quite Burgundian in style. 93/100
Bekkers Syrah Grenache 2014
McLaren Vale, Australia
70% Syrah, 30% Grenache. This has
lovely sweet lush fruit character, with raspberries and
blackberries, but it's also very pure and elegant with nice texture.
So polished yet also detailed. Elegant, stylish wine. 94/100
Bekkers Syrah 2013 McLaren Vale,
Lovely, fragrant briney wine with a saline
edge to he vivid fruit. Powerful with spicy detail and real
precision, with depth, richness and also balance. Lovely stuff.
They do one
other wine: a Chablis that Emmanuelle makes when she visits there
each year. Tiny amounts are made for cellar door. It's fabulous!
VISITING AUSTRALIA'S MCLAREN VALE
Wines tasted 07/17
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