Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chardonnay
Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chardonnay is characterised by its seamless mouthfeel and abundantly rich palate. It shows a youthful exhuberance, expressing fine intensity and a long, mouth-watering finish. Loads of honey and peach fruit, all supported by the flavours from excellent quality French cooperage.
- Country: South Africa
- Region: Cape South Coast
- Subregion: Walker Bay
- Vintage: 2018
- Colour: White
- Grape Variety: Chardonnay
- ABV: 14%
- Bottle Size: 75cl
- Closure: Natural cork
- Style: Cape Burgundy
- Drink With: Truffle ravioli in a Dolcelatte and walnut sauce
The name Missionvale stems from the mission hospital established in the early 19th century on what would later become the Bouchard Finlayson property. German missionary Peter Leitner would walk his leprosy patients over the Raed-na-Gael Mountains to the nearby ocean to cleanse their bodies. The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and its associated terroir has proven itself to be one of the Cape’s most treasured Chardonnay locations.
2016 was a very dry year in general but the cooler climate in Walker Bay helped the vines to cope with these conditions. This meant that the crop was a little smaller than normal but has very good concentration due to the small berries. The weather remained perfectly dry throughout the six weeks of harvest.
Secondary fermentation established softer and more complex lactic acid, which contributed to its greater complexity. The grapes were fermented in classic Burgundian style with additional time on the original fermentation lees and barrel maturation of 7 months in 30% new French oak barrels. This maturation contributes to its distinct velvet texture.
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.