Bouchard Finlayson Tasting

Tuesday 16th September 2014

Lia Poveda of Walker Bay's Bouchard Finlayson Estate was in Manchester to host a small tasting of their range for some of our restaurant clients.

Established in 1989, Bouchard Finlayson is a boutique winery dedicated to the making of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines of outstanding quality. Located in the wine ward of Walker Bay, an hour and a half from Cape Town, the 125-hectare property currently has 22 hectares under vines; the rest is mountain land, covered by the spectacular indigenous ‘fynbos’ flora of the Western Cape. With only a small portion of the farm under vine Bouchard Finlayson is able to ensure the conservancy of the mountain land.

Bouchard Finlayson’s flagship wine is the Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, which has won many an award and accolade. Growing on the slopes of Galpin Peak, repeated vintages of this path-blazing wine continue to reflect a true celebration of Pinot-crafting, consistently endorsing the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley as a jewel in the hunt for this illusive grape. Bouchard Finlayson is renowned as one of South Africa’s top wineries and this can be attributed to their philosophy and focus to produce wines of the finest quality.

The tasting began with the more aromatic white wines, the Sauvignon Blanc and the blend of Blanc de Mer. Both showed well and both were from the expressive 2013 vintage. The fact that the Sauvignon Blanc vineyard is now in maturity was very evident and the wine was extremely aromatic with good perfumes of gooseberry and lemon grass. The Blanc de Mer which is Riesling dominated was a little tight at first but it soon opened to be its usual enticing self with delicious citrus flavours and aromas.

Next came a run of Chardonnay wines with the Sans Barrique 2013 and then two vintages of Missionvale, the 2012 and 2007. What great wines! The Sans Barrique was Chablisesque with good minerality, a bold yet perfectly balanced acidity and quite delicious green apple fruit, none of which was obscured on the palate by oak nuances. The first vintage of the Missionvale to be served was the 2012 and this had been barrel fermented in 30% new French oak barrels where it also matured for several months. The oak nuances were still obvious but not overpowering for the fruit which was dominant. There were loads of peach flavours with notes of honey too and the wine will certainly age well for several years. As testament to this we then tasted the 2007 vintage which was quite delightful. Still with good life ahead of it, the oak was very well married into the wine which has notes of guava and mango. Both vintages work well with shellfish or poultry with the 2007 crying out for a truffle!

Then came the two reds. Hannibal 2012 and Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2012 and very well received they were too. The Hannibal is, as the name implies, a blend of French and Italian grape varieties with Sangiovese and Pinot Noir making up around three quarters of the blend. Although it showed both power and finesse, the fruit was still dominant with open flavours of black cherry and strawberry backed by notes of spice. The Galpin Peak Pinot Noir was wonderful and rightly it is the basis for Peter Finlayson's great reputation as the South African master of the variety. It was bold, richly fruited and it was packed with dark berry and plum flavours. Velvety on the palate with great length in the finish, this is a wine that's so much fun to drink now yet it has a great life ahead of it.

Lia was a joy to be with and she explained simply yet in so much detail how each wine was made and the food pairings that would enhance the drinking over the years. We cannot express our thanks enough to her.

For those of you wishing to purchase some of these wines, please click here. And watch this space over the coming months for details of dinners we'll be hosting with Lia.