Star performer Tokara

Meet the Veritas 2022 star performer:  Tokara Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

The Veritas Vertex Award, named after wine industry legend Duimpie Bayly, crowns the overall winner at Veritas, the country’s longest running and most prestigious wine competition.

The Tokara Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 was the sixth receiver of the Duimpie Bayly Vertex Award since its inception in 2017. It makes the score even for red and white wine winners, namely three each, that have won the highly sought-after hand-grafted glass trophy.

The creator of this ‘pinnacle product’, Tokara winemaker Stuart Botha, explains that the winery’s focus is on two of the great grape varieties in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. This means that if you love world-class wine, combined with fine food, award-winning olive oils and spectacular views, you need not look any further than this winery that was founded in the mid-nineties.

This exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon has its origin in Tokara’s premium vineyards on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain overlooking Stellenbosch. Only grapes from selected sections of the best vineyard blocks are used, with the average yield of 6 – 8 tons per hectare. The grapes were hand-picked at optimal ripeness between 8 March and 3 April 2019. The blend comprises 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot.

The grapes were gently de-stemmed, before passing across a sorting table and then being crushed directly into tanks for fermentation, using only gravity. A period of cold maceration follows for up to five days before the spontaneous onset of fermentation, using the natural yeast strains present on the grapes.

The press-juice and skins were fermented in stainless steel and wooden upright (foudre) fermenters. Pump-overs, delastage and punching down of the cap were applied twice daily for extraction until the fermentation was completed. The tanks were allowed maceration post fermentation. The wines spent a total of 22 months in 48% new French oak – the rest being second- and third-fill French oak barriques. During maturation, the wines received four rackings, all done barrel to barrel. The wine was bottled in January 2021 with no fining and a light filtration.

Stuart Botha, joined the winery in 2017, and says, “The journey of making fine wine involves a thousand forks in the road. The secret is never to opt for the route named compromise.”

Stuart will be visiting France in 2023, thanks to a partnership between Veritas and Vinventions SA, a global leader in complete wine closure solutions. Says the company’s MD Johan Conradie, “We are proud to reward Stuart, the creator of the Duimpie Bayly Veritas Vertex Award with special visits to some of the most amazing cooperages, like Ermitage and Berthomieu, and several wineries in France.”

The 2019 Tokara Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon displays a deep burgundy colour with a vibrant edge. The nose leads with classic graphitic notes, dark brambleberry, interwoven with aromas of five-spice. A freshness underscores these aromas with hints of dark blueberry, red currant and fynbos scrub – a classic expression of Simonsberg Cabernet.

The palate is well poised and showcases an effortless balance between fruit purity and tannin weight. The flavours mirror aromas and all lead to a multi-textured, persistent finish,” in Stuart’s words.

He offers two suggestions for perfect food pairing with the Tokara Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon: “Grilled steak with Béarnaise sauce and thick cut potato chips or roast lamb shoulder with rosemary and garlic jus, potato dauphinoise and long-stemmed broccoli with lightly toasted almond flakes.”

Bennie Howard, Vice Chairman Veritas, Stuart Botha, Winemaker of Tokara with the Duimpie Bayly Veritas Vertex Trophy and Johan Conradie, MD of Vinventions, with the award-winning wine.

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