Tokara in the Helshoogte Pass between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch has always been a very special place with a very special ambience.
Words by Greg Landman
Nestled as it is, overlooking the vineyards, one can see all the way to Table Mountain on a clear day.
The restaurant under the very sure hand of Super Chef Richard Carstens is very popular and with good reason. His flavours, with Asian touches highlighting a sure grip of all the basic French techniques, have always been hallmarks of Richard’s’ cooking. Service is great, and the views are marvellous, especially for jaded city dwellers.
The wines at the table are controlled by their well-known sommelier Jaap-Henk Koelewijn—whose name must have ordained where he would end up in life. Talking of which, the new Tokara Reserve vintages are now out and they are some of the best we have. Miles Mossop unveiled them for us at lunch.
The highlight was undoubtedly the launch of Tokara’s first MCC, one that Miles has been developing for some time. Deliciously dry with a nice persistent bead and plenty of brioche and apple notes on the nose it is presented in an elegant bottle which nestles in an appealing box which will make a great gift for someone special. At R650 a bottle it will not be the sort of thing you knock back at lunch unless it takes place after a game of polo. The other wines were the Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc, a serious wine, very elegant without the acids which can strip the palate off one, and the Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest, also from Elgin, a magnificent wine made in limited quantities. The Chardonnay 2016 and the Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 are both from the Simonsberg and are marvellously intense, memorable with food and even better without it.
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