Bouchard Finlayson - A Boutique Winery

Latest Newsletter

July 2014

What's Happening at Bouchard Finlayson

Peter FinlaysonA WORD FROM PETER

Beyond Burgundy - great Pinot Noir vineyard sites, beyond Burgundy, are mostly a recent occurrence (of the past thirty years) and as with quality Burgundy wines the statement of distinctive new world Pinot Noir wines is limited. Burgundy itself confirms that only 2% of its land enjoys Grand Cru, while 10% enjoys Premier Cru status. This pattern of limited offerings echo’s itself in other parts of the world and thus prompts me to highlight the category of Pinot Noir, Beyond Burgundy.  The point to be made is that while regionality is the instinctive knee-jerk marketing solution, great Pinot Noirs are going to be geographic exceptions rather than the norm.  In other words where they are politically produced becomes of lessor importance.  It is not the political boundaries which can lay claim to the magic places on which great Pinots are grown, it is the site uniqueness which makes its mark and I regard these sites as international gems. This is the message which I projected during my recent tasting and pouring trip through Holland, Poland, Russia and the UK. The message that Bouchard Finlayson aims to produce wines of an international standard ….. and to think of our Pinot’s as 'Beyond Burgundy'.

Peter Finlayson

What's Happening at Bouchard Finlayson

Excitement reigns as we release our vintage 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. Our Sauvignon blanc is arguably our least promoted or exposed wine but surprises us in being our most successful label in terms of volume sales.  While this vintage does not detract from a distinctly Sauvignon blanc flavour footprint it does project a very luscious palate. This arising from our non-traditional viticultural practice of implementing high density plantings. Research has shown that high density plantings offer greater physiological ripening at harvest time which, during this past wet summer would have provided useful reward under adverse weather patterns. Bottled early, this has provided the 2014 vintage with the chance to capture vibrant flavours and fermentation esters.  The nose is fragrant and the palate portrays rich tropical fruit flavours of litchi, granadilla and guava.  The wine is crisp signalling confirmed structure and good but gentle acid balance.

Recent Achievements

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2014

Bouchard Finlayson was honoured to be awarded with the TROPHY for 'Best Museum class wooded Sauvignon blanc' for our Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2010.

The Museum class entries continued the trend for accounting for at least 5% of the entries and revealed what is clearly a change in emphasis amongst the countries super-premium cellars. "Increasingly we see the countries top wineries choosing to send a message about the age-ability and age-worthiness of their best vintages" observes Fridjhon.

South African Wine index (SAWi) 2014

Bouchard Finlayson once again was recognised for its exceptional wines at the South African Wine Index (SAWi) 2014 awards ceremony, which was held at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve on the 21st of June.

We received both the overall Top Pinot Noir cultivar award for the Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir; as well as the Top Red Blend (other) award (excluding Rhone and Bordeaux blend) for our celebrated Italian/French red blend, Hannibal. Sharing the privilege with Cederberg Private Cellar, we received the most awards presented to a single winery at this year’s SAWi event. Our Tête de Cuvée Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, Hannibal and Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay both won SAWi Platinums, the highest accolade that may be achieved by any single wine - with a score of 95 or more out of a possible 100 - once again proving that the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is the undisputed home of South Africa’s very best Pinot noir! A Grand Gold, scoring between 93 and 94, was presented for our Missionvale Chardonnay. As an added thrill to the SAWi awards ceremony on Saturday night, Bouchard Finlayson and Grootbos partnered up to co-host a select group of media for the entire weekend. The journey started with a media tasting at Bouchard Finlayson's Homestead on Friday afternoon. The theme was vintage Hannibal - 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2012 poured alongside tasty canapés. Then on to Grootbos for a Bouchard Finlayson Pinot noir tasting extravaganza paired with the most delightful dinner of smoked bacon and field mushroom soup and grilled lamb. Vintages included Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 1995, 2003, 2007, 2012 and the famous Tête de Cuvée Pinot Noir 2010 and 2012. The media were treated to a full weekend of luxury, fine wines and delicious cuisine at Grootbos.

Related articles:
Bouchard Finlayson Press Release
Saturday Weekend Argus - 12 July 2014
Hermanus Times 3 July
Sunday Times food weekly 29 June
Scarlett Nguni 

Tim Atkin South African Report 2014

Tim Atkin's latest report was launched on the 1st July based on his two visits to the Cape in March and last December, and further extensive tastings in London and at Prowein.
We are proud to relay our recent ratings:
Missionvale Chardonnay 2012 - 92 points
Tête de Cuvée Pinot Noir 2012 - 91 points
Kaaimansgat Limited Edition Chardonnay 2010 - 91 points
Hannibal 2012 - 90 points
Crocodile's Lair Chardonnay 2013 - 90 points

Wine Spectator rating

Continuing our positive trend with receiving 90 plus points from Wine Spectator for our past 5 vintages, our Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2011 has been rated 90 points in the most recent Wine Spectator web ratings.

Recent Events

Hermanus Fynarts Festival Award

Following last year’s success of the inaugural Hermanus FynArts Festival, an all-encompassing festival of visual arts, literature, music and award-winning food and wine, celebrating South African arts and culture. We expanded our role in sponsoring the ‘Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award 2014 Tondo Competition’ (Tondo is a Renaissance term for a circular work of art – in this instance displayed on the top, flat end of a wine barrel). Themed ‘Origins’ this year, the work of approximately forty finalists was exhibited on barrel heads in Bouchard Finlayson’s wine cellar. Congratulations to the winner - Tineke Meijer for her Origins impression called 'Morph 2'. The three merit awards went to Neeske Alexander for 'Primordial Soup'; Kathryn Hamer Fox for 'Origins: The egg, the chick?' and Lisa Stapley for 'Baby Goat - Kunune indigenous goat from original Himba tribe. Click here to view images of the event.


Peter embarked on a 3 week marketing trip to Europe mid May - a lovely way to escape the early Cape winter. His first destination was to join our agents in Holland Wijnimport J. Bart 50 year anniversary celebration. Over 1500 people enjoyed the 2 day festivities enjoying the 'pop-up' restaurant concept and delicious wines from 50 wineries to savour. Peter comments, "I was humbled by the warm welcome from the Bart Family and the one chosen to make the thank you speeches on behalf of visiting wine producers." The combination of the amazing weather and superb location added to the glory. Thank you to the Bart Family, Team and old and new customers. Click here for local media mentions.

On to Poland, to support our Agents Wine Express. First stop was Warsaw where Peter was hosted by Dorota Zylewicz who arranged trade and media tastings. Success in having our Crocodile's Lair Chardonnay listed at Michelin star Restaurant Atelier Amaro. John Borrell (owner Wine Express) hosted Peter at his beautiful Kania Lodge in Gdansk with invited guests for a delicious trade lunch.

Peter arrived in Moscow, Russia at midnight and had to fine tune his negotiating skills for the taxi fare to his hotel. A Bouchard Finlayson Tutored Tasting was hosted to our Russian Agents Marine Express to engage and educate all staff on our wines and the philosophy behind them. Some had already enjoyed the opportunity to visit us in the past year. Peter had many a trade visit to restaurants whose decor was of great opulence and enjoyed the fun names - La Maree, Nostalgia, I Love Cafe and Gatsby. Peter was very happy with the support and well attended tastings and bottle signings at the various wine shops called Vinissimo that Marine Express own (three in Moscow and sixteen in St Petersburg). Peter's final night was hosted by Marine Express's Yury Kuznecov at Le Boat Restaurant with great merriment and celebration.

Final stop UK. The London Wine Fair 2014 was very busy and Peter was grateful to have Lia's added support. During and after the fair Bouchard Finlayson's 'flag was flown' at various dinners and mini trade shows. A fun evening was held at High Timber restaurant, our greatest supporter of our Pinot Noir and a South African wine tasting and dinner at Vivat Bacchus. On to Leeds to the Martinez Wines New World wine fair and finally to Colchester for the New World Wine Tasting for The Wine Centre, Gt Horkesley. Thank you to all who attended and supported us and much thanks to our Agents Seckford Agencies.

In October Peter will spend a month in America. Bouchard Finlayson has been invited to pour at the prestigious Wine Spectator, New York Wine Experience 16-18th October. Thereafter Peter will offer support to our USA Wine Agents Indigo with various trade visits and tastings across the country. Peter will head North to Canada, Quebec, where we together with our agent Vintrinsec will showcase our wines at the La Grande Degustation show 2014 Montreal which takes place on the 6 - 8 November.

Where in the world is Lia

Lia Poveda, Bouchard Finlayson's Global Ambassador is always on the move promoting, selling and offering support to our amazing agents and customers. In April Lia spent the day with our French Agent - South World Wines at the event “Chai et Rasades” which was organised by influential Rolland Lecarpentier. 100 wines and 10 countries were represented with Sommeliers attending from Paris and the province.  It was a perfect opportunity to network and see how Bouchard Finlayson shines in Paris. 

From Europe to Asia - Hong Kong where we are hopeful to attract a wine representative in the coming months. Lia attended various events organised by the World's Leading Wines. Lia had the privilege to meet with the very influential James Suckling, wine journalist, editor of Wine Spectator and Asia Tatler magazine, who raved about our Blanc de Mer 2013 and Galpin Peak 2011, watch out for the coming reviews. Another fortunate meeting was with the prestigious Pierre Gagnaire, multi Michelin Star awarded chef at Pierre restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental. We hear we can look out for a wine listing soon to match one of the best meals Lia has ever had - Turbot in 3 parts.

Back home in the UK we are thrilled to be listed in the trendy Boisdale group of restaurants in key locations in London. Their passion runs to the finer things in life including wine, food and live music. We can now enjoy Bouchard Finlayson's Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, Hannibal, Missionvale Chardonnay, Crocodiles Lair Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc in all the Boisdale restaurants. Lia attended a fun cricket day, Middlesex versus Essex, T20 at the Lord Cricket Ground arranged by ourselves and Seckford Agencies to say thank you to our loyal customers including the Oxford Wine Company, Cambridge Wine Merchants and Martinez Wines. In another fantastic listing, we are proud to announce our collaboration with Caviar House. Caviar House was part of the inauguration of the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow. Our listing includes the Tête de Cuvée Pinot Noir, Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, Missionvale Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in their shops. One of the most important events of the year - The London Wine Fair 2014 - took place at Olympia. Always a great opportunity to network with our international agents and national customers. Thank you for the continuous support.

Tutored Tastings

Our two most recent Tutored Tastings took place at our sister properties - namely the magnificent Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa and the majestic Oyster Box Hotel.

The line up's consisted of vintage 'highlights' from Bouchard Finlayson's famed Pinot Noir's, namely Cape Winemakers Guild, Tête de cuvée and Galpin Peak labels which followed a flight of our Sauvignon blancs and vintage 'highlights' from Bouchard Finlayson's Sauvignon blanc's, Pinot noir's, Hannibal red blend and Chardonnays respectively. Be sure to reserve your seat via for the next Tutored Tasting taking place on the 13th August at Kyoto Garden Sushi, Cape Town and 26th August at The Peech Hotel, Johannesburg. Click here for more info on the Tutored Tastings. Read the BubbaliciousBlog account of a recent tasting.

Music and Wine

A collaboration between one of South Africa's most popular concert pianists; Christopher Duigen, Internationally renowned Pinot Noir producer; Bouchard Finlayson and Pietermaritzburg's (KwaZulu Natal) local restaurateurs Nicolson's Country Cafe, Trafford's and local cheese from MJ Mook - Just Cheese - was the perfect partnership for a sublime evening of delicious food, superb wines and warm notes resonating through the air. The meal was served entirely on handcrafted porcelain from David Walters. On a fresh Tuesday mid-July evening, 30 invited guests consisting of local media, trade and friends enjoyed a delightful and relaxed evening at Christopher Duigen's private residence. Certainly a wonderful way to enjoy the local flavours and sounds in one evening. Click here to view photo's courtesy of Jonathan Burton. Read an account of the evening by Louise Buchler.

Upcoming Events

Carolines Red Wine review

Caroline’s Red Wine Review is a showcase of 60 wineries that have consistently achieved the highest accolades in all the top competitive platforms. Each of the selected wineries is invited to show just one red wine for tasting. We will be pouring our flagship - Galpin Peak Pinot noir 2012 on Wednesday 30th July 2014, at The Table Bay Hotel, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Time: 17h00 until 21h00. Tickets @ R200 are available at Computicket and bookings are now open.

Hermanus wine & food festival

Taste more than 250 wines from Elgin to Elim at this year's Hermanus Wine and Food Festival taking place at the Wine Village - Hermanus - on the 8, 9, 10 August, bookings through computicket. Bouchard Finlayson will showcase our latest vintages - enjoy the Hemel-en-Aarde area's finest wines all at this central location.

Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

At the 2014 Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, as a first time, Bouchard Finlayson will be placing two wines in the lineup - both our Pinot noir 2012 and Chardonnay 2012, celebrating the Guild's 30th Auction. The Auction showcases the finest and most exclusive wines produced by some of South Africa’s leading winemakers in small quantities exclusively for this auction. The auction is open to the public and attracts wine collectors and local and international buyers from the retail and hospitality industries. Online, Telephonic and Proxy bidding options are available for buyers who wish to bid but are unable to attend on the day. The Auction takes place at Spier, Stellenbosch on Saturday 4th October 2014 from 09:00. For more info contact

RMB WineX Wine Festival

Now in its 15th year in Sandton, the RMB WineX Festival boasts the greatest selection of South Africa's top cellars under one roof together with an exciting array of newcomers, boutique producers and garagistes – all passionate about what they make and why it is different. Bouchard Finlayson will showcase our latest vintages, so be sure to not miss out on the most encompassing 'wine route' in Gauteng on the 29, 30, 31 October. Tickets via Computicket.

The recent cellar door Lucky Draw winners

March - Jane Wright
April - Deon and Carla Robberts
May - Sarisha Cohen
June - Kate Ferguson

They all received a bottle of 2012 Hannibal.

Remember to put your business card in the ‘lucky draw box’ when you come and visit us in the tasting room. 

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