Tokar Estate ‘Amphora' Tempranillo 2019

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James Halliday – Soil mapping revealed a distinct patch within the tempranillo vineyard, so the fruit was hand picked and destemmed, gravity-fed into a 1000L Spanish clay vessel. Left on skins for 118 days with some gentle plunging along the way before skins removed, no easy task that, and the wine returned to the vessel for élevage. Succulent cherries, delicately spiced, savoury and a little meaty; but what makes this wine wonderful is the palate. Supple and flowing with polished tannins and, yes, with a texture of fine, fine sand. Bravo. - Jane Faulkner

About This Wine


Planted in 1999, Tokar Estate has the largest and oldest Tempranillo vines in the Yarra Valley. In an attempt to better understand our soils and the variability in our vineyard, our soil was scanned to produce a soil map. From this we discovered a small patch of soil in our Tempranillo block that was distinct from the rest of the estate. This soil covers around 20% of the Tempranillo block. In 2019, we picked and fermented this section in an Amphora to make a separately. The success of this wine led to this 2021 version.


Fruit from a specific section of our Tempranillo block was hand picked in the early morning and destemmed immediately. The berries were then gravity fed into a 1000L Amphora, made is Spain. A Spanish grape, fermented in Spanish clay, here in the Yarra Valley. The wine was made in a very hand-off manner, receiving an occasional gentle plunge during its 140 days on skins. After an awkward dig out of the amphora (only possible because the winemaker is skinny), the must was given a low pressure squeeze and the wine was returned to the amphora for elevage. Here it remained until just prior to bottling (without filtration or fining) in January.

Sensory Analysis

The colour is a beautiful deep ruby with a tinge of purple, looking particularly youthful. The nose smells of glazed cherries, black tea and brick dust from the amphora. There is a purity to the palate with a sweet core of blueberry and cranberry before the more savoury ironstone finish. This wine is refreshingly unmasked from any oak influence and I love the texture of this wine. The extra long time on grape skins has knitted the tannins together to make a wine that feels mouth filling and classy. Whilst the wine is approachable now, it also has the concentration and structure for cellaring up to 20 years.

Type Red Wine
Varietal(s) Tempranillo
Country Australia
Region Yarra Valley
Brand Tokar Estate
Vintage 2019

Yarra Valley Wine

The Yarra Valley wine region is the most important area of wine production in Victoria today, and with its proximity to Melbourne, also the most visited in the state.

Yarra Valley is split into the Upper Yarra and the valley floor. The Upper Yarra is cooler in climate due to its elevation and coupled with younger, fertile, red soils produces most of the region’s notable varietals: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The valley floor is warmer and has predominantly grey soils with pockets of granite and limestone.

Pinot noir has long been considered a notoriously difficult variety to grow. However, the cool climate and longer growing seasons of the Yarra Valley allow the fruit to develop full flavoured and ripe character.

Chardonnay in the past has long been associated with a deep oily, buttery style that experiences full malolactic fermentation and great amounts of oak. This style has since fallen out of favour and wine makers in the Yarra Valley have capitalized on this trend to produce leaner, acid driven Chardonnays that are closer in style to those from Burgundy.

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