Bekkers McLaren Vale Syrah 2018

Sale price$119.95
McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

Style: Red Wine

Variety: Shiraz

Closure: Screwcap

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Bekkers McLaren Vale Syrah 2018

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, usually ready in 2-4 days

Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Producer: Bekkers

Country: Australia

Region: McLaren Vale

Vintage: 2018

Critic Score: 99

Alcohol: 14.0%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: 2040

A truly great McLaren Vale syrah, as smooth as velvet, yet with layer upon layer of purple and black fruits that are hypnotic in their perfection - James Halliday

James Halliday Top 100 Wines of 2022

"Best bottle of McLaren Vale Shiraz in my life. Thanks Emmanuelle and Toby."  Rob Geddes MW

The 2018 Bekkers McLaren Vale Syrah is a stunning example of McLaren Vale Syrah. It is 25% whole bunch, the fruit is sourced from two elevated parcels in Clarendon (48% of the fruit) and one in Seaview (52%), and is aged in a mix of new (58%) and used 500-liter French oak puncheons. 

"This glorious shiraz is dark and brooding, rich, plush and dense, with supple tannins and succulent mouthfeel.  It boasts ripe blackberry, cranberry, dark plum and black cherry flavours with an earthy bass note. It will have a long and distinguished life."  Gourmet Traveller Wine

"Shiraz Is McLaren Vale's most widely planted variety. Our example is intended to showcase McLaren Vale's trademark generosity of flavour but we're very careful to avoid making a simplistic, big, bold, overwrought Shiraz. Fine wine polish is a description we use often–spice, fragrance, and silky texture. Teaming the scaffold of darker, denser coastal fruit with the elevated, lighter-framed, later ripening Clarendon parcels tends to arrive at a nice balance for us. Structure and aromatics in balance."  Toby Bekkers

Expert reviews

"Hand-picked, the vinification very gentle to avoid extraction of aggressive tannins, matured in French puncheons (58% new) on lees with minimal additions until Dec '19. A truly great McLaren Vale syrah, as smooth as velvet, yet with layer upon layer of purple and black fruits that are hypnotic in their perfection. Drink by 2043."  James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion - 99 points and and Top 100 Wines of 2022 and Special Value Wine  ★ 

"Best bottle of McLaren Vale Shiraz in my life. This is a remarkable wine and cheap at $120. The understated wine making relies on vineyard or vine selection and elegant use of whole bunch. The tannins are very fine and the fruit length means you linger over sip the last glass as you don't want it to end. Rare job, class act and a delight to know we are still getting better as a wine making country. Thanks Emmanuelle and Toby."  Rob Geddes MW

"This glorious shiraz is dark and brooding, rich, plush and dense, with supple tannins and succulent mouthfeel. It boasts ripe blackberry, cranberry, dark plum and black cherry flavours with an earthy bass note. It will have a long and distinguished life."  Gourmet Traveller Wine - 97 points *****

"Deep, brooding red/purple colour, with a blackberry fruit aroma that is ripe and concentrated. The wine is full-bodied, fleshy and smooth, with savoury qualities and quite chewy tannins to conclude. There is density, depth and weight, and the wine has a lasting intensity through a very long aftertaste. Deep-set blackberry, cranberry, black cherry and dark plum flavours, with an earthy bass note. Delicious and long-term. Drink 2020–2035".  Huon Hooke, The Real Review - 97 points

"Picked a month earlier than the 2017 yet incorporating a higher proportion of whole bunches (25%) in the ferment, the 2018 Syrah comes in a half-degree lower in alcohol (14% alcohol) than the preceding vintage. It's simultaneously more aromatic and floral on the nose and expansive on the palate than the 2017—a clear step up in quality. Hints of violets, peppery spice, black olives and blueberries mark the nose, while the medium to full-bodied palate is round, rich and mouthfilling, leading up to a long, licorice-tinged finish. It's a stunning example of McLaren Vale Syrah, blended from two parcels in Clarendon (48% of the fruit) and one in Seaview (52%), and aged in a mix of new (58%) and used 500-liter French oak puncheons."  Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate - 96 points

"The Bekkers story is a good one – Aussie boy meets French girl, both in the wine game, and they put their heads down and pedal hard to make some of McLaren Vale's best. Toby's long viticultural career dovetails superbly with Emmanuelle's very fine touch in the winery, which really brings some fascinating feminine touches into the wines, which I have have never tasted quite so much as in this 2018 multi-vineyard McLaren Vale Syrah.

It is deeply coloured but needs some serious air to come out of its shell – and come out it does. There is really quite lovely brightness and purity to the fruit – blackberry, violets, spice and oak and coming together so beautifully. It is then full-bodied, concentrated, complex and seamless on the palate but with some McLaren Vale grunt too – blackberry fruit is there but is joined by roasted meats, cola and dried spice with touches of olive tapenade and bacon fat too. Love how drinkable it is right now – it could do with some more tannin but that is really being picky – it will still drink well for a decade or more. Nice people, and nice wine. If you love McLaren Vale – it is worth getting on the Bekkers train right here. Drink: 2020 - 2035."  Angus Hughson, Wine Pilot - 96 points

"A very dry spring and summer produced exceptionally intense fruit from the Seaview parcel, producing a dark, brooding Syrah, with earthy, savoury smoked meat, espresso and tapenade undertones and an enveloping cloak of velvet tannins. Two elevated Clarendon parcels (and 25% whole bunch ferment) leaven the palate, making for a tensile, animated finish, with juicy, fresh blackberry and pronounced china ink perfume. A baby; will benefit from time in bottle." Drinking Window 2022 - 2035."  Sarah Ahmed, Decanter - 95 points

"Impressive, spicy kick on the nose with an array of red and darker fruit, delivered very purely. The palate has a very defined, clear-cut structural feel, crisp tannins, bright flavors of red to dark plums and berries and a clear, juicy finish. This has real promise. Try from 2024."  James Suckling, - 95 points


James Halliday Top 100 Wines of 2022
Special Value Wine – Halliday Wine Companion  ★ 

Top 50 Most Popular Wines of 2020, James Halliday

About the winery

Bekkers Wines

A love for fine wines and McLaren Vale and the desire to create something special for the region inspired viticulturist Toby Bekkers and his French-born wife and winemaker Emmanuelle to establish their label Bekkers in 2010. Their aim was to make a McLaren Vale wine to rival the best in the world. The Bekkers specialise in Syrah and Grenache. They make just three reds - a Syrah, a Grenache and a Syrah Grenache. All the wines are a blend of different vineyards across the northern half of McLaren Vale.

"Emmanuelle and Toby Bekkers produce wines with incredible depth and intensity. Their reds have a mesmerising quality which makes them completely irresistible.”  Toni Paterson MW

Toby grew up in McLaren Vale and graduated with an honours degree in Agriculture from the University of Adelaide in 1994. He subsequently spent 15 years (1995–2010) at Paxton in McLaren Vale, firstly as viticulturist and eventually as General Manager. During that time he supervised the transition of 200 acres of vineyards to organic and biodynamic viticulture.  

Emmanuelle was born in Bandol in the south of France and obtained two university degrees in biochemistry and oenology.  While working as assistant winemaker at BRL Hardy's Domaine de La Baume in the Languedoc Roussillon, she decided to travel to Australia for a change of scenery and became the only woman in Hardy's cellar at Tintara. It was there in 1995 that she met her future husband Toby.

For over 25 years Emmanuelle and Toby have travelled regularly to Europe to visit an extensive network of esteemed winemakers and friends. Emma's experience in France includes four vintages in Burgundy, at Meursault's Domaine Jacques Prieur and Mercurey's Antonin Rodet, and five with Bordeaux contract winemaker Bouey et Fils. Since 2012, she has spent each vintage with a friend in Chablis.

"I think we have a very deep understanding of the diverse viticultural palette of our region. Importantly, we view this through an international lens. The blend of local knowledge and global viewpoint works well for us."  Toby Bekkers 

The following is an extract from an article written by David Parker, Bottle & Glass:

In a time when more and more fruit is picked by machine, the Bekkers choose to pick by hand. They also manually sort the fruit to get rid of any shrivelled, raisiny grapes. Sorting is something they do a lot of at expensive estates in Bordeaux where Emmanuelle has worked, but it's not common in Australia, especially in McLaren Vale. Even though it costs more, Emmanuelle told me she likes to sort to avoid unwanted jammy characters in the wine, as well as to allow "the more delicate, fresh fruit and spice flavours to blossom.” Selection is crucial to the process - Emmanuelle maintains "what you leave behind is just as important as what you take.”

Colour, tannins and much of the flavour of red wine come from the grape skins, so how winemakers deal with them is crucial. I find it's also the key to texture in red wines. Emmanuelle leaves around 20% of the grapes as whole bunches, the other 80% she destems but does not crush. All the grapes are then cold-soaked, which involves cooling the grapes to around 8 degrees for between 4-8 days, depending on which of the 3 wines it is. The cool temperature ensures no oxidation or fermentation occurs in the meantime and the result is a gentle extraction of tannin and colour, as well brighter colour and more delicate flavours.

The fruit is allowed to warm up, with fermentation occurring spontaneously using the ambient wild/natural yeasts. The fermenting tanks have cooling systems and are tweaked to ensure the ferment never runs over 25 degrees. By comparison, some winemakers run their red ferments as hot as 30-32 degrees which, while it ensures good extraction of colour and flavour, also risks harshness. By contrast, Bekkers ferments are long, cool and gentle. During the ferment the skins floating on top are gently plunged by hand (with the Grenache), or pumped over (with the Syrah), where the juice is pumped from the bottom of the fermenting tank and sprayed over the top of the floating skins. Both techniques ensure gentle extraction of colour and tannin. After ferment, the wines are aged for varying periods in combinations of old and new, large format oak. There is minimal use of sulphur and no filtration. The wines are sealed with stelvin closures (ie. screw caps).

The result of all this work is incredible texture, and the resulting smoothness on the palate is a real Bekkers signature. Emmanuelle told me about a Japanese sommelier who described the 3 reds as silk (Grenache), satin (Syrah Grenache), and velvet (Syrah). This wannabe haberdasher's description succinctly captures the common thread running through these wines - a textural smoothness, as well as the difference between them - the weight.

Wine region map of South Australia

South Australia

South Australian is responsible for more than half the production of all Australian wine. It is home to more than 900 wineries across 18 wine regions. The regions are Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Currency Creek, Eden Valley, Kangaroo Island, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Mount Benson, Mount Gambier, Padthaway, Riverland, Robe, Southern Fleurieu, Southern Flinders Ranges and Wrattonbully.

Many of the well-known names in the South Australian wine industry established their first vineyards in the late 1830s and early 1840s. The first vines in McLaren Vale were planted at Reynella in 1839 and Penfold's established Magill Estate on the outskirts of Adelaide in 1844.

South Australia has a vast diversity in geography and climate which allows the State to be able to produce a range of grape varieties - from cool climate Riesling in the Clare and Eden Vallies to the big, full bodied Shiraz wines of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Two of Australia's best-known wines, Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace, are produced here. There is much to discover in South Australia for the wine lover.