Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal
Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal shows both power and finesse like Hannibal himself, the palate has spicy tones overlaying a supple and gently leathery structure, which is emphasised by olive, black cherry and cranberry-laced flavours all kept fresh by a prickle of Italian-esque acidity. While very approachable now, Hannibal will mature handsomely for several years to come.
- Country: South Africa
- Region: Cape South Coast
- Subregion: Walker Bay
- Vintage: 2018
- Colour: Red
- Grape Variety: Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Nebbiolo, Mourvèdre/Monastrell, Barbera
- ABV: 14%
- Bottle Size: 75cl
- Closure: Natural cork
- Style: Quirky but great
- Drink With: Italian sausages on polenta
The birth of Hannibal dates back to Bouchard Finlayson's importing of the first Sangiovese and Nebbiolo vines into South Africa in 1989. Hannibal was twelve years in the development process, from taking cuttings and propagating the plant material to the bottling of the first vintage which was released in December, 2001.
The name Hannibal was adopted as a symbolic expression of the role played by the African elephant in linking the wine lands of France and Italy two thousand years ago under the command of the conquering Carthaginian general.
A fascinating blend of 33% Sangiovese, 22% Pinot Noir, 18% Shiraz, 17% Nebbiolo, 6% Mourvèdre, and 4% Barbera, and one that reflects many of their finest aspects.
About the grower
Walker Bay is between Cape Point and Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa, and the Bouchard Finlayson Estate lies in the Hemel-en-Aarde (literally the Heaven and Earth) Valley, framed by the Galpin Peak and the Tower of Babel mountains and within sight of the ocean. The cold Atlantic greatly influences the climate and, although frost-free thanks to the moisture and cloud cover blown in off the sea and trapped by the mountains, the area is one of the coolest wine growing areas in the Cape. After eleven years as winemaker at the nearby Hamilton Russell estate and building a reputation for the excellence of Walker Bay Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Peter Finlayson created Bouchard Finlayson in 1989. He now produces what is considered South Africa's finest Pinot Noir - the Tête De Cuvée Galpin Peak - together with a variety of excellent Chardonnays. In addition, Bouchard Finlayson has planted a number of Italian varieties that define the Hannibal cuvée, along with Sauvignon Blanc and some Riesling that contributes admirably to the Blanc De Mer blend.
Because of Hemel-en-Aarde's cool climate, the wines of Bouchard Finlayson are much more restrained in style than those from many other new world countries. Given Peter Finlayson's mastery of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, comparisons of his wines with those from Burgundy are inevitable and are far from detrimental. He firmly believes that great wines can only be made from the finest grapes, which he attains by limiting yields and by meticulously caring for his vineyards. Once at the winery, the grapes are handled as little as possible so as not to detract from their inherent quality. It's no surprise that Bouchard Finlayson makes some of South Africa's best wines.
The continued focus on biodiversity and conservation at Bouchard Finlayson means that only 22 of the 125 hectares of the estate is under vine amidst the unique native fynbos flora which flourishes unhindered in this delightful region.