Tokara Telos 2015

By , 22 July 2019





Telos 2015 – R4 200 a bottle – from Tokara in Stellenbosch. Vanity project? Another well-meaning but half-baked effort to elevate the reputation, and in conjunction, the price of South African fine wine? Yet more smoke and mirrors from the top end of the industry?

It’s been in the market for a while now and has generally been well received without necessarily changing the debate. For whatever reason, yours truly only got to taste it for the first time last week and yowzers, I’m impressed.

Long-serving viticulturist Aidan Morton cues it up well – “part of the plan from day one”, “a red wine to compete with the best in the world” and “something to put SA on the map”. Tokara is, of course, a project owned by business magnate GT Ferreira, first bottling back in 2001 – as Morton says having both Rustenburg and Thelema as neighbours, there was always the conviction that greatness could be had, especially if there was utter attention to detail in both vineyard and cellar. “No excuse not to pull something “wow” out of the bag,” as he puts it (and let’s not forget that the accomplished Miles Mossop was still incumbent when this wine was made).

The price alone will make some automatically skeptical but it is a rather wonderful wine,  predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon – 92% from a particular block less than a hectare in size and dear to Morton’s heart and the rest 5% Malbec and 3% Merlot; maturation lasting 22 months in French oak, 60% new; alcohol: 14%.

The nose shows red and black fruit, violets, the vaguest hint of fresh herbs plus attractive and subtle oak spice. The palate is surprisingly medium bodied (for a wine with such a big price tag) and shows beautiful fruit purity to go with silky tannins. It’s lithe and energetic with fantastic refreshment value, and another compelling argument that Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon can be a world-beater.

Editor’s rating: 95/100.

Find our South African wine ratings database here.


2 comment(s)

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    Christoph Munz | 26 July 2019

    Interesting to see that every new ambitious project in SA faces such a submissive scepticism “can you really charge that much for a South African wine?” Well, if the quality is there, why not? From my perspective (from Germany) it seems strange that SA still holds itself in that limited price range. 4G was obviously the first one who broke those bonds and it is highly respected now internationally. In SA it is seen as shocking expensive, but in a global context it is – cheap! They recently did a blind tasting in Zurich, 4G in a line with a number of 100 PP wines from Bordeaux, California and Australia. 4G was not only the winner but also the “cheapest” wine of the tasting. So congratulations to Tokara for also having the guts to charge a world class price for a world class wine!

    Larry Jacobs | 22 July 2019

    it’s gotta start somewhere – good on Tokara!

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