Not enough South African wineries maintain a proper vinoteque but Hemel-en-Aarde Valley winery Bouchard Finlayson does and a collection of older vintages designated as “Peter’s Pick” (Peter Finlayson being cellarmaster) were recently released, tasting notes and ratings for some of them as follows:
Bouchard Finlayson Kaaimansgat Chardonnay 2007
Price: R300 a bottle
Grapes from vineyards near Villiersdorp. Matured for eight months in French oak, 25% new. A definite nuttiness to go with marmalade and oatmeal on the nose and palate. Quite advanced – comforting in its mellowness.
Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 1998
Matured for 10 months in French oak, 25% new. Alcohol: 13%. Some red fruit still in evidence on the nose but also more savoury qualities like tomato cocktail, beef consommé and forest floor. The palate is light bodied yet possessing good flavour intensity – delicate with lemon-like acidity and nicely resolved tannins.
Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2001
Matured for 10 months in French oak, 30% new. Alcohol: 14%. Red and black fruit, some floral fragrance as well as a touch of earthiness on the nose. The palate is full bodied and still very much intact with lovely freshness plus some tannic grip remaining. Waves of flavour, the finish possessing an intriguing spicy quality. Stonkingly good.
Bouchard Finlayson Tête de Cuvée Pinot Noir 2006
This was a revelation – tasted twice in 2013, I was inclined to think it was past its best , the oak never going to integrate with the fruit (Tête de Cuvée typically matured for some 15 months in 80% to 100% new oak). Four years on the wine shows red and black cherry, a particular but not entirely unpleasant meatiness, mushroom, earth and spice. The palate is rich and full to the point of hearty (alcohol: 14.5%) while the oak is now much better absorbed or whatever it is that happens over time in bottle.
Other older wines available include: Sans Barrique Chardonnay 2009 (R250), Kaaimansgat Limited Edition Chardonnay 2011 (R360) and Hannibal 2005 (R450).
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