Bouchard Finlayson - A Boutique Winery

Latest Newsletter

March 2014

What's Happening at Bouchard Finlayson

Peter Finlayson A Word From Peter

The Lagoon at the end of Hermanus has been open to the ocean for the past six months resulting in a rush of water so great that it exposed the rubble from the old Birkenhead Hotel, which had been buried some 25 years ago. The significance of this is a gross illustration of the wet season experienced by our Walker Bay appellation. Our local drinking water storage dam has been running over the spillway and two spells of monsoon rain events left their mark with necessary repairs on our north west facing slopes.

Despite this wet harvest we are excited to have secured a stock of excellent wines from this vintage and fortunately towards the end of February we basked in some fine hot sunny weather which marked the end of the harvest. History reminds me of the wonderful wines secured from vintage 1997 and 2003 which were certainly not without wet and adverse weather. While alcohol levels will be lower there is no reason not to look forward to some exciting offerings from 2014.

Peter Finlayson

What's Happening at Bouchard Finlayson

Amidst Autumn in South Africa, we reminisce about summer days gone by and our deliciously fruity summer white 2013 releases. ‘Vintage 2013 followed from a particularly long and protracted winter, which presented a late ripening season for most grape varieties - a situation which has resulted in some deliciously fruity white wines with confirmed racy structures!’ Notes Peter.
Bouchard Finlayson’s Blanc de Mer blend, which has been in existence for over 20 years, continues to gain international popularity, having recently been listed to the famous Moulin Rouge theatre in Paris. The 2013 vintage enjoys a 52% Riesling component in the blend, the highest proportion of Riesling in any vintage of Blanc de Mer to date.
The Bouchard Finlayson Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013 vintage is the product of older Sauvignon Blanc vines, with some plantings now exceeding twenty years of age. These mature vines offer richness of fruit which extend to bolder wines as evident in the 2013 vintage.
The un-oaked Bouchard Finlayson Sans Barrique Chardonnay 2013 meanwhile captures support from those who enjoy the flinty clean character of Chablis and similar wines. The rich character of this wine stems from the clay based soils at the wonderful vineyard location of the Elandskloof Valley of Villiersdorp. Heavy clay and stony soils, non-irrigated with an excellent winter chill compliment, contributes to its confirmed flavour profile.
Bouchard Finlayson’s 22-year association with the Kaaimansgat Chardonnay vineyard has become something of an institution, contributing greatly to its Chardonnay success. The late picking of the grapes – and subsequent early release of the 2013 Crocodile’s Lair/‘Kaaimansgat’ Chardonnay has offered fruit display and presents a bottling with floral notes which play to the ‘fresh palate’ enthusiasts.
Our red 2012 vintage releases include the Hannibal and Galpin Peak Pinot noir.

Hannibal stands alone by its design and presentation as an individualistic blend of classic Italian and French varieties.  Hannibal 2012 is both bold and complex with notable back-palate structure while it’s collection of different varieties present a harmonious flavour balance.  The colour is marvellously crimson and bright.  Showing both power and finesse it gives way to gentle flavours of black cherry, spice and strawberry.
Galpin Peak Pinot noir 2012 follows the wonderfully successful 2011 release which managed to secure no less than three notable accolades!  Peter personally regards this as a more notable vintage and herein rests the excitement at tracking its “fast forward” performance, “to be”! A bold wine with rich fruity expression, packed with a medley of dark berry and plum flavours. Open textured, velvety and appealing for covert enjoyment from a lingering and expressive finish.

Recent Events

Inaugural Hemel-en-Aarde area Pinot noir Celebration

Bouchard Finlayson took part in the inaugural ‘Hemel-en-Aarde area Pinot noir Celebration’, jointly hosted by the Pinot noir producers of the three Hemel-en-Aarde wards held over 2 days on the last weekend in January. The opening of the Celebration took place at midday on Bona Dea Estate. Set on 28ha, the Estate is nestled against the pristine fynbos mountain slopes with endless views across the Hemel-en-Aarde's famous vineyards.

A comprehensive Pinot noir tasting of the three wards, namely Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge was presented throughout the afternoon. The Red Burgundy tasting hosted by acclaimed author and Burgundy specialist Remington Norman, introduced by Peter Finlayson took place in the evening, followed by a Pinot noir focused dinner presented by some of South Africa's most renowned chef's, Bertus Basson, George Jardine and Peter Templehoff. The following day saw a series of individual themed tastings held at the various producers' properties.

Peter gave an insight into his experience with the elusive grape as he reflected on 30 years of Pinot noir in South Africa, which enabled guests to taste through a selection of our top vintage Tête de Cuvée's and Galpin Peaks with a few Burgundy comparisons. There was much praise lauded on the producers for an insightful, interesting and fun event with eager anticipation for 2015's Pinot noir Celebration.

Constantia Fresh Festival

Bouchard Finlayson wines were presented at this year’s annual Constantia Fresh Wine Festival. Visitors to this year’s festival had an array of fine wines to taste and delectable canapés to savour whilst enjoying the background music. Designer snacks were prepared by some of South Africa’s Top Chefs to complement the wines of each producer. The vibe was festive yet relaxed and the weather optimal. Buitenverwachting proved to be the perfect setting for such a fun, fine wine event.

Where in the world is Lia?

As Global Ambassador for Bouchard Finlayson, Lia has the pleasure to participate in many exciting and wonderful events showcasing the amazing wines that Peter produces near the tip of South Africa. January 2014 kicked off with a visit to our Winery and Vineyard and precious moments were spent with Peter and our team understanding his passion and dedication towards his beloved grape - Pinot noir. Lia was back home to the UK in February to host Master Classes and Bouchard Finlayson staff wine training at prominent restaurants in London. Read more

Visits from our International Agents

In early March, Peter recently had the pleasure of hosting a small group of visitors from The Walgreens Company initiated through WOSA (Wines of South Africa). The Homestead cellar proved to be the perfect setting for this special wine tasting and traditional South African dinner, which was also attended by some of the other Hemel-en-Aarde area producers, who are represented in the USA. Walgreens is the largest retailing chain in the USA with 8,678 stores in all 50 states. We look forward to welcoming our USA wine agent Indigo Wine Group and some of their key distributors for a tasting and lunch at our Homestead in April. The group will include the Owners and sales representatives from Indigo's Colorado Distributor (Elite Distributing) and Michigan Distributor (Imperial Distributing). Since our partnership with Indigo Wine Group in the latter part of 2012, our web in the USA has grown and our wines are now available in 21 states with California and New York being the biggest sellers. We were also introduced to some prestigious  off–trade buyers and 3 sommeliers from restaurants in Moscow by our agent and leading wine importer and distributors from St. Petersburg Marine Express who enjoyed  a delectable Fish braai under sunny skies and warm weather . We look forward to welcoming a second group in April who represent Marine Express’s off–trade clients and wine boutiques.

A picnic in 'little Switzerland'

To celebrate more than 21 years association with Kaaimansgat, Peter hosted an intimate media lunch at this unique venue which is fondly referred to as 'little Switzerland'. The farm owned by the Roux family is in the Elandskloof Valley behind the town of Villiersdorp, some 85km away from Bouchard Finlayson. The vineyards are situated 700m above sea level and it is here that we harvest chardonnay for three of our four Chardonnay labels and it was here that we had the most delicious picnic whilst appreciating the development of our Chardonnays throughout the years - Crocodile's Lair / Kaaimansgat Chardonnay '97, '03, '07, '10, '13, Kaaimansgat Limited Chardonnay '09, '10, '11 and the Sans Barrique 2012 - our fresh unwooded chardonnay which has been served on Rovos Rail luxury train for many years. It was decided that such an amazing event should take place annually to celebrate fine wines, fresh air and an abundance of life.

Upcoming Events

Tutored Tastings

Following sold-out events in 2013, Bouchard Finlayson will once again host a series of Tutored Wine Tastings in Cape Town and Johannesburg this year. Open to the public, the tastings, hosted by Peter Finlayson, will be held in small groups - limited to 20 guests and are meant to be fun and informal, attracting wine novices and connoisseurs alike. This allows wine fans to savour a delicious glass of wine while finding out more about its provenance and character, all in a relaxed setting without any elitist notions. Whether you are a wine expert or a wine enthusiast who simply enjoys a good glass of wine, we encourage everyone to join us! Read more.

Pinot noir festival at the Vineyard Hotel & Spa

Explore the mysteries and pleasures of Pinot noir. Take a viticultural journey, savouring some of South Africa's finest Pinot noir's - carefully selected vintages - accompanied by canapés, listening to the surround sounds of light music in the beautiful gardens of The Vineyard Hotel and Spa. The Festival takes place on the 13th April, 14h00 to 17h00, R180 a ticket. To reserve your ticket or more information contact; 021 657 4500.

New School Grand Cru Chardonnay festival at Môreson

30 of the top Chardonnay producers in South Africa gather at Môreson's acclaimed restaurant Bread and Wine to celebrate the inaugural 'New School Grand Cru Chardonnay festival'. The public are invited to come and explore the magic and versatility of this capricious varietal at R150 per ticket on the 3rd  May, 14h00 - 18h00,, 021 876 3055.  Our Junior winemaker Chris Albrecht will be pouring our flagship Chardonnay, Missionvale 2012 and our unwooded Sans Barrique 2013 Chardonnay.

The Hermanus FynArts Festival

Experience Hermanus at its best during a 10 day celebration of South African arts. We are excited to announce the Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award 2014 Tondo Competition. The work of approximately forty finalists will form the Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Barrel Head Exhibition. These works will be exhibited and on sale for the duration of Hermanus FynArts. Read more.

Julliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival

After 23 years, The Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival inspires by offering an exclusive and longest running wine show in the country.  Small, select, superior - the event is singularly about quality. The festival's location is at Summer Place, Hyde Park on the 10th and 11th June, 17h30-21h00. Peter Finlayson and our Johannesburg agent Chris Milne will be presenting our award winning wines - wines of distinction presented in an elegant setting.

Bushmans Kloof and Bouchard Finlayson wine weekend

A highlight on the culinary calendar – join Bushmans Kloof's Executive Chef Floris Smit, co-hosted by Peter Finlayson at a gourmet food and wine weekend 27-29 June. Using the finest local ingredients, world-class cuisine will be matched with our superb wines and presented to you in the magnificent wilderness environment that is Bushmans Kloof.
For reservations, please contact: Bushmans Kloof reservations department on +27 (0) 21 437 9278 or

The recent cellar door Lucky Draw winners

January - Nick from Kure Kure Guesthouse in Sandbaai.
February - Darius Oosthuizen

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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