Tokara Chardonnay 2016 grapes are from the estate’s vineyards in Stellenbosch. After harvesting, the grapes are de-stemmed, crushed and pressed. The juice is transferred to stainless steel to settle overnight. Fermentation is mixed between oak and steel tanks, some of which is fermented on lees. The wine spends 8 months in barrel with 5% new oak ageing on gross lees. Lots of stirring to add layers and concentration but no malolactic.
Star bright, with a light golden hue. Quite expressive aromatically with ripe lemon, honey and orange blossom. The palate is fresh and crisp upfront but then develops. Lots of lemon, honey again but also toasted almosts and a lick of ginger. Layered with a rich texture and concentration. Back palate is creamy smooth but the finish is bone dry. The richness means it pairs well with creamy white sauce dishes of either fish, chicken or veggies. 2016 is developing but it’s hard to not drink it now. Great purity of fruit and restraint in the oak usage.
Tokara was founded in 1922 and focuses on international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon, Shiraz and Chardonnay. Elevations of the vineyards in Stellenbosch range between 350m to 550m above sea level which helps diurnal variation. Soils are a mix of granite and sandstone adding structure. Tokara also acquired vineyards in Elgin and are cool-climate sites with sandstone being the predominant soil type. A picture-perfect destination the estate has olive groves, vineyards and a restaurant.
While they produce three levels of wine, this is a fantastic entry into what Tokara can produce while not smashing the budget. Typical of wines from South Africa where value for money is the standout.