Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A trip to the Hemel en Aarde Valley to taste Bouchard Finlayson wines

We don't often go to the winelands at night, especially if it means driving in the home-going traffic on the N1 or N2 and then driving home afterwards. But if one of our favourite and well respected wine farms offers transport, we will consider it very seriously. Which is why, last Wednesday, saw us on the road to the Hemel en Aarde for a tasting of Bouchard Finlayson’s wines on the farm. Yes, it was a long trip, but yes, it was worth it
It was held in the vaulted tasting cellar which was beautifully floodlit for the occasion
The welcome was with a glass of Bouchard's Blanc de Mer, a quirky blend of Riesling and Viognier with a splash of Chardonnay and a dash of Chenin Blanc. Very easy drinking, on many, many restaurant wine lists because it goes so well with food, especially sea food. All the other wines were placed on table around the room.
A selection of Riedel and Spiegelau glasses, all the appropriate shapes for the different wines
Cellarmaster Peter Finlayson welcomes us and tells us about what we will be tasting
Three magnums, three vintages of the Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, 2004, 2006 and 2007. This elegant wine is awarded four and a half or five stars in Platter each year and it is well deserved. Full of cherries, dark berries, minerality and a good kick of spicy acidity this is one that gets international recognition for the farm and for the valley
The audience listens attentively
Peter took us back to the establishment of the farm in 1989 when he and Burgundian winemaker Paul Bouchard (now deceased) began by planting the vines and building the cellar. The farm which has 22 hectares under vine, is now owned by the Tollman Family. It is run by Peter Finlayson and Victoria Tollman
Three vintages (2007, 2008 and 2009) of magnums of the very elegant Sangiovese led Italianate blend, Hannibal. These wines just get better and better with age and are drinking so well now
Sauvignon Blanc unwooded and unwooded, are such good examples of what this grape can do. Three chardonnays, unwooded, wooded and the complex, layered Mission Vale all impress. We also tasted the Kaaimansgat Chardonnay and the award winning Tète de Cuvée Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, which has years to go and was showing huge potential and strength
Assistant Winemaker Chris Albrecht chatting to a guest
Peter in discussion with one of the guests
Fellow travellers from Cape Town, Tony Da Costa and Ezra from Liquor City, Claremont
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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