Meet the Maker: Token
During the lockdown, Corrigan’s Mayfair’s head sommelier, Dmytro Goncharuk, once crowned ‘Best Sommelier in Ukraine’, and his wife, marketing and public relations specialist Alyona Mykhailova, came up with the idea of producing a boutique of wines. After finding them captivating in terms of their authentic and lively flavors, Douglas Blyde sat down with the busy Goncharuk to find out more…
How was Token born?
We as hospitality workers spent the whole lockdown at home with no work. In order not to go crazy, in the spring of 2020 we bought a boat, “Alethea”, and spent most of our time on it, dreaming about the future. And our plans were ambitious: to open a bar in London, to start a winery with a hotel in a warm place near the sea; we have also thought of offering pub tours in London. But we kept coming back to wine – the product that has proven even more popular with the public during lockdown than normal. The creation that accompanies us on vacation and in the privileged moments of life.
What steps have you taken to achieve your dream?
In the fall of 2020 we were ready to find a winemaker with vineyards from which we could interpret our own expression of the land, choose the grapes and participate in all the processes along the journey to finally bottle it under our own brand using bespoke labels. . After extensive research and after tasting many samples, we found the perfect option in February 2021.
Where is the cellar?
The wines are made by Giacomo Orlando d’Orlando e Didonè Vinicoltori in Craoretto, Prepotto, Friuli Colli Orientali DOC from which the vineyards of Ribbola and Franconia are within walking distance. We intend to continue working with them and participated in the 2022 harvest.
What does the name “Token” mean?
We wanted to convey freedom, wandering, travel, memories, emotion and nature. And we wanted our wine to become a little souvenir to order at the restaurant or to take home. Its taste and aroma remind us of the wonderful times spent with friends and family. “Token” therefore sums up the idea of memory and the association of taste with a happy moment.
Who made you want to make wine?
My father and my grandfather. Every time I return to the village of Nadrichne in the Odessa region where my father is from, I am fascinated by the way people treat wine, which is part of everyday life. And, of course, I will never forget the aroma of the wine cellar. One day Alyona and I will make wine in this region. In fact, we have at least three areas in our sights, including the Canary Islands, which have fallen in love with the wild vines of volcanic Lanzarote.
What does the wine taste like?
Ribolla Gialla 2021 is a light white with good acidity and a touch of complexity that comes from the fermentation of a small part of the grapes on the skins in barrel. The rest was pressed after overnight cryo-maceration. As a result, the aroma is full of lemon, spice and green apple followed by a fresh mouthfeel with a spicy finish and a soft texture due to a brief skin maceration. For our red, Franconia 2021, we picked the grapes not too late to preserve their freshness and peppery flavor. Fermentation took place in open vats with regular pigeages. The nose features aromas of summer berries, cherry and black pepper, with a hint of violet followed by a medium to light body with light tannins and refreshing acidity.
Where can we find and buy the wines?
Token has already arrived at Corrigan’s restaurant. For other resellers, keep an eye on Instagram: @Token_Wine
In addition to the Token project, you have recently been instrumental in bringing Ukrainian wines to the UK. How was the process?
It was not easy at first, to unite four winemakers and collect their wines in one place in the conditions of the constant bombardment of the Mykolaiv and Odessa regions. Fortunately, Ukrainian wines can be easily purchased in the UK.