Family values and a single minded vision to produce timeless, world class wines is the bedrock of TOKARA, the prestigious Stellenbosch property that celebrates its 20th vintage this year.
At TOKARA, nothing is left to chance. “The mantra has always been one of no shortcuts – no compromise. From the very beginning TOKARA aimed at an international style with a distinct South African identity – an ambition to create something that would be recognised as timeless,” says TOKARA GM Karl Lambour.
It all began in 1994 when G.T. and Anne-Marie Ferreira purchased a farm on the foothills of the Simonsberg to build a home for their young family amongst the beautiful old oak trees. With the lure of the land and the insight of illustrious neighbours, the kernel of the dream that would eventually become TOKARA soon took root. Fast forward 25 years and today TOKARA is a tourist destination that offers visitors elegant, award-winning wines, two beautiful restaurants, an art gallery and sculpture garden as well as some of the best South African Extra Virgin Olive oil. At its heart TOKARA remains the home to a family with vision, dedication and most of all determination.
“After 25 years I still savour our good fortune of living on such a beautiful property and having so much fun while producing one of the most delightful products in the whole world,” is how proprietor G.T. Ferreira describes the great joy their investment and long-term vision for TOKARA has brought the family.
While family remains at the core, the success of this incredible undertaking requires the hands of many. To this end TOKARA still counts nine dedicated staff members who have been part of the story from the very beginning. The depth of knowledge about the unique terroir and vineyards accumulated by seasoned viticulturist Aidan Morton, is another key asset.
“Right from the start, world class has been the minimum standard of everything we do and will continue to be so in the future,” says Morton who has been associated with TOKARA since day one.
Building on this solid base gives new team members the opportunity to bring exuberance and fearlessness that will continue to carve TOKARA’s path into the future.
“The future in the winery is exciting. With the vineyards truly coming into their own, an already well-defined style and the introduction, after many trials, of the most innovative winemaking techniques in the wine world, we’re striving for vinous perfection in every wine we produce,” says winemaker Stuart Botha.
The first wines released under the TOKARA label, the flagship Director’s Reserve Red and the Director’s Reserve White, enjoy wide international acclaim as a true reflection of everything the farm stands for – refinement, elegance and balance.
Since its maiden 2003 vintage, the Cabernet Sauvignon driven Director’s Reserve Red has grown in stature as a world class Bordeaux-style blend with a string of accolades in tow.
“After many years of focus TOKARA identified Cabernet Sauvignon as our primary avenue of speciality. Our site is perfectly positioned to express the very best of Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon and to enhance this expression we deftly weave threads of added complexity of ancillary Bordeaux varieties. The Director’s Reserve Red is the spectacular result,” says Lambour.
The latest 2016 vintage is a consummate blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (78%), Merlot (11%), Petit Verdot (7%) and Cabernet Franc (4%) all selected from TOKARA’s best vineyard sites on the slopes of the Simonsberg. The wine spent 22 months in a combination of new and older French oak barriques. The result is a wine of immense clarity with ample dark cherries, blackberries, ripe plum skin and a hint of spice. A fine yet firm tannin structure bodes well for the longevity synonymous with this TOKARA flag bearer.
Sauvignon blanc is another significant TOKARA cornerstone. When presented in concert with Semillon in the form of the formidable Director’s Reserve White, this flagship, dating back to the 2004 vintage, stands equally tall on the world stage.
The newly released Director’s Reserve White 2017 is a classic Bordeaux-style Sauvignon blanc (69%) and Semillon (31%) blend made from grapes grown on the highest slopes of TOKARA’s Stellenbosch property. Both varieties are fermented and matured separately in predominantly older French oak barrels and left on the yeast lees for nine months to impart superb integration and texture to this wonderfully complex wine. Rich layers of passion fruit and pink grapefruit intermingle with hints of lemon grass and freshly baked brioche. The wine shows amazing clarity and depth with a zesty persistence.