Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2012

The unique Bouchard Finlayson cellar

The Hemel en Aarde Valley on the outskirts of Hermanus is home to a collection of top class wineries where some of South Africa’s finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are produced. Contributing to this is that the Valley lies in one of the coolest growing areas in the Cape and being so close to the cold ocean the soils and vineyards benefit from the on shore winds. The result is a semi-Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild frost free winters. The soils are predominantly Bokkeveld (Malmesbury) Shale with duplex layers of clay and gravel (rich in ironstone and granite) with an underlying layer of fine clay shale which provides a source of moisture. However wonderful all these perfect conditions are for the vines in the vineyards there is always a team responsible to make sure it all happens correctly in the vineyards so that the finale of perfect grapes at harvest can be delivered to the cellar.

Peter Finlayson, the leader of the pack

Heading the team at the Bouchard Finlayson winery is none other than Peter Finlayson who I am sure must be the  longest standing wine maker in the Valley. Peter started out as wine maker on the neighbouring farm, Hamilton Russell, where he received the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Award in 1989 for The Hamilton- Russell Pinot Noir 1986. The prize allowed him the opportunity to travel to France where he spent four days with well known negociant, Paul Bouchard. It was here that Paul and Peter formed a Franco-Cape wine venture and started the Bouchard Finlayson winery in the Hemel and Aarde valley. As Peter thrived on making wines from the Burgundy varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it made sense for him to pursue his dreams on this newly acquired piece of land. Not surprising then that after the first few vintages their wines were winning trophies and awards world wide!

Since these early days and after Paul Bouchard sold his stake to the Tollman family in 2001, the winery has grown to new heights with Peter continuing  at the helm. Today the Bouchard Finlayson range of wines includes a Sauvignon Blanc, a white blend called Blanc de Mer, an Italian/ French red blend named Hannibal, an unwooded Chardonnay as well as a range of exceptional wooded Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

The range of wines produced

Peter invited us to visit the farm recently where he led us through a tasting of  his latest vintages and at the same time afforded us the opportunity to taste older vintages as well, proving how well each of his wines continue to improve in bottle. I imagine that wine lovers have particular preference to a wine style from their favourite wineries and mine are the Pinot Noirs from Bouchard Finlayson!  My cellar at home comprises several vintages of the Galpin Peak Pinot Noir and also a few bottles of the flagship Tete De Cuvee.

After the tasting we were invited to go down to the cellar of the homestead  where lunch was served and each course designed to pair the flight of wines we had previously tasted.  What a feast of the senses from the delicious whites to the sublime reds all complimenting the delicious food! However it was the finale I was waiting for which was a selection of cheese, brie, emmental, goats and blue and served with the Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2011. Named after the surrounding mountain which helps to trap the moisture from the sea this Pinot has the breeding for many more years of maturation! The wine is elegant and balanced and full of silky rich black cherry and plum fruit flavour which lingered on the palate well into the long savoury finish!

Expect to pay: R285.00

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