Wines which are modest on their own tend to look even plainer when paired with gourmet food but by the same token wines made with serious intent sometimes only truly reveal themselves when drunk with a correspondingly high quality meal.
Yesterday the 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 (no 2008 made) of Tête de Cuvée Galpin Peak Pinot Noir from Hemel-en-Aarde Valley producer Bouchard Finlayson benefited from the outstanding cooking of Scot Kirton at La Colombe in Constantia. This is a wine which, irrespective of vintage, can be rather imposing but Kirton’s precise and balanced plates of food brought out the best of everything in the glass.
Winemaking is more or less the same from year to year (10% whole-bunch fermentation, 16 months in French oak, 80% to 100% new). Tasting notes as follows:
2005 (5 Stars and Wine of the Year in Platter’s 2008)
Dark fruit, some earthiness and (Barolo-like) notes of tar and boot polish. Rich and full but well balanced – bright acidity and wonderfully fine tannins.
2006 (Trophy for best in class at Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2008)
Red fruit, slight meatiness and spice. More medium bodied with bright acidity and quite grippy tannins. Immediately appealing but appears a little brittle with time in glass.
Prune plus some meaty, earthy notes. Broad, sweet and soft. Seems a bit too developed for its age.
Red and black berries, some musky perfume and vanilla. A voluptuous wine with intense, pure fruit, coated acidity and relatively soft tannins. A real crowd-pleaser.
2010 (current release – price: R680)
Very primary. Black fruit and some oak spice. Pure and concentrated with bright acidity and firm tannins. Meticulously crafted.