Chris Albrecht (38) has been appointed as the Winemaker at Bouchard Finlayson. His promotion follows after seven years working alongside Peter Finlayson as Assistant Winemaker. Widely recognised as South Africa’s ‘pinot pioneer’, Peter Finlayson continues to represent the brand on an executive level locally and internationally as founder of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley winery.
After completing a BSc Agriculture in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch, Chris Albrecht gained international experience spending three years working six vintages in three different countries. These included two harvests in New Zealand, the first at a small family-owned property in Gisborne and the second an industrial-scale operation in Auckland. In France he further extended his knowledge learning from a chateaux owner in the Cote de Bourg commune of Bordeaux and a harvest the following year in Lalande de Pomerol.
Returning to South Africa, he spent four years as the Winemaker at Topiary Wines in Franschhoek. Topiary was then a newly built winery with established plantings of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. It was however a young block of Chardonnay that would prove to be the future star. During his tenure at Topiary, both the 2008 and 2009 MCC Blanc de Blanc was awarded 5 stars in Platter’s Wine Guide. While working at Topiary, he also had the opportunity to take a brief sabbatical to spend a vintage in California’s Paraduxx, which is part of the Duckhorn stable.
In December 2010, Albrecht started his career at Bouchard Finlayson, cutting his teeth on Pinot Noir in the envious position as Peter Finlayson’s assistant. As from the 2017 harvest, he was promoted to head production. His travels abroad in support of marketing efforts have included a study trip to Burgundy earlier this year, offering fresh inspiration and benchmark perspective.
Bouchard Finlayson continuous to rake in accolades, not only for Pinot noir, the cultivar it’s best known for, but also for its excellent range of Chardonnays. During Albrecht’s tenure at the winery, the 2015 Missionvale Chardonnay was awarded Gold in the 2017 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC), one of the world’s most prestigious wine competitions, after the 2013 Galpin Peak Têtê de Cuvée Pinot noir also won a Gold Medal in the same competition, the year before (2016). The 2015 Galpin Peak Pinot noir won a Gold Medal and the Regional Trophy in the International Wine Challenge (IWC) 2017, after the 2013 vintage scored 5 stars in the 2016 Platter Wine Guide.
Bouchard Finlayson was celebrated on the world stage at the Intrepid South African Trade Show in London, where it was announced on 13 September 2017 that its famed 2015 Missionvale Chardonnay received a Gold Award in the International Wine and Spirits competition (IWSC) 2017. At the same time, it was revealed that the 2015 Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay was scored at 95 points by Tim Atkin.
This has once again proved the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and its associated terroir to be one of the Cape’s most treasured Chardonnay locations. These new releases are now available at the winery at R151 per bottle for the 2015 Crocodile’s Lair/Kaaimansgat Chardonnay and R239 per bottle for the 2015 Missionvale Chardonnay.
The Missionvale is described as a ‘robust Chardonnay with loads of creamy feel. This supported by subtle peach and melon flavours following a zesty citrus watermark. The after taste conveys further fig and quince like character. This bottling has excellent potential for ageing and further development.’
Crafted from grapes grown in the Elandskloof Valley behind the village of Villiersdorp, the Crocodile’s Lair/Kaaimansgat Chardonnay is rich in flavour with a distinctive mineral quality, which offers expanded taste expression. ‘Lots of melon, green apple, litchi and slight vanilla tones achieved from the French oak maturation. Creamy components will expand with time enhancing the flavour if further maturation is encouraged.’
Various vintages from the Bouchard Finlayson stable scored equally well in Tim Atkin’s South African Special Report for 2017, with Medals of Excellence awarded to no less than four other vintages. These include scores of 93 for the 2013 Têtê de Cuvée Pinot noir, the 2015 Galpin Peak Pinot noir, and the 2015 Missionvale Chardonnay, and 92 for the unique 2015 Hannibal red blend.
James Suckling, in his South African Report 2017, also rated the current Bouchard Finlayson vintages highly, scoring the 2013 Têtê de Cuvée Pinot noir at 94 points, followed by the 2015 Galpin Peak and 2015 Missionvale both at 93 points, 2015 Hannibal at 92 points, and 91 points for the 2015 Crocodiles Lair Kaaimansgat Chardonnay and 2015 Sans Barrique.
Wrapping up the international awards season, Greg Sherwood MW, scored the 2014 vintage of the Crocodile’s Lair Kaaimansgat Limited Edition Chardonnay at 94 points, in his 2017 report of ‘A fine wine safari’.
Mhondoro Safari Lodge Villa
Mhondoro Safari Lodge has introduced a range of children’s activities aimed at families booking Mhondoro Villa on an exclusive-use basis. Located in the malaria-free Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg, the villa sleeps six people and welcomes children of all ages. Children’s programmes are tailor-made to accommodate all ages and include Insect bush walks; Making of animal track moulds; Baking with the chef; Archery; Herb gardening; and Hair braiding.
Families booking the Villa enjoy the services of their own ranger and game viewing vehicle. Children are welcome on game drives exploring the magnificent 35 000 hectare game reserve, which is home to many plant and bird species, in addition to more than 50 different type of mammals. Guests may look out for the ‘Big 5’, including the endangered white rhino, and could even spot some rare and unusual species such as brown hyena, aardwolf, pangolin and aardvark.
Babysitting services are available and little travellers can run free in a dedicated open-air play area, which is protected by an elephant fence, while older children may participate in stargazing evenings using the telescope stationed on the Stardeck. Mhondoro has a unique underground game viewing hide, connected to the main lodge with a 65m underground tunnel, which provides children with the adventure of game viewing from a distinctive ground level perspective. The hide is accessible anytime day or night, and provides the opportunity to get close up to buck, baboons, zebra, warthogs and even elephants drinking from the waterhole.
Ideal for families or groups of friends travelling together, Mhondoro Villa providing a luxurious yet comfortable home-away-from-home. The magnificent Villa Master Suite has a spacious bathroom with both indoor and outdoor showers, and a separate private lounge and study. There are another two bedrooms, which both come with en-suite bathrooms. The large, open-space kitchen, dining and lounge area provides ample opportunity for relaxation and entertainment, leading out to the wooden decks with sun loungers and a heated pool for all-year swimming, with views of the lodge waterhole and the wilderness beyond. On balmy summer evenings, the Outdoor Lounge sets the scene for relaxing sundowners while watching ‘resident’ elephants stop by the waterhole for a drink, while a cosy indoor and outdoor fireplace means that guests can enjoy the magic of the wilderness even on chilly nights. A private, fully-equipped gym and yoga room are ideally located within the Villa for those wishing to start the day with a rejuvenating workout, yoga or Pilates session. For bigger groups, the Villa can dine up to 10 people when the rest of the party book rooms in the adjacent main lodge, including the option of a 2-bedroom Family suite.
EXTENDED STAY OFFER VALID UNTIL 10 DECEMBER 2017: Mhondoro Villa Pay for 3 nights, stay for 4 nights during mid-week (Sunday to Thursday). For more than 4 persons the normal rate applies for those extra persons. Exclusive-use of Mhondoro Villa includes the services of a game ranger, butler, housekeeping staff and a private chef. Rates are R45 000 per night for up to four people (until 31 March 2019) and include all meals, soft drinks, local beers and select house wines, as well as twice-daily game drives, children’s activities, reserve entrance fees and scheduled transfers from Welgevonden main gate. (For more than 4 people – additional adults at R9 000 and children between 2 and 10 years old R5 000 per person per night)
Known for championing various community and outreach programmes throughout South Africa, Tintswalo is proud to help facilitate entrepreneurship and promote up-and-coming local talent. The family owned company has been instrumental in the success of a collective called The Riversands Incubation Hub in Johannesburg – a large-scale business incubator that was established in 2015 through a partnership between the Tintswalo family’s Century Property Developments and the Jobs Fund.
The Hub works with black-owned start-ups, as well as already established businesses, offering entrepreneurs exhibition space, and business and skills training programmes – with the aim to foster the development of high-potential enterprises.
One of the success stories to emerge from The Hub is that of ceramic artist Joe Govo. Born in Zimbabwe, Govo (41) remembers falling in love with art at the tender age of five, while watching his uncles paint artworks. Entirely self-taught, he followed in the footsteps of his family, initially by selling his own paintings to women in his local neighbourhood. His calling for ceramics came later, at the age of 20, when he started to work for a local ceramics company called Penzo Zimbabwe. In 2004 he moved to South Africa to join the art collective Intu-Art (now Artists of Africa) in Johannesburg.
In 2006 he established Joe Govo Ceramics, a proudly South African business concept that embraces passion, creativity and human development. Over the years Govo has collaborated with several other ceramic artists. These fruitful collaborations have elevated his public exposure, and helped develop diversity within his own ranges. In 2013 the talented artist crafted his successful ‘Citizenship’ collection of ceramics, conceptualised by Creative Director Rial Visagie from the Ceramic Factory.
Govo joined The Riversands Incubation Hub when it first opened in 2015. It was at The Hub that Govo caught the eye of Tintswalo Lodges CEO Lisa Goosen, who is involved in the collective as a facilitator. She immediately fell in love with his work and took a personal interest in his work as a mentor to his business. Govo’s exclusive, handmade designs can now be found at each of Tintswalo’s three properties: Tintswalo Safari Lodge, Tintswalo at Waterfall and Tintswalo Atlantic, where guests can not only admire, but also purchase the precious artworks from their gift shops. They are also popular with both local and international art collectors and individuals who wish to own bespoke pieces. Lisa Goosen says Tintswalo is delighted to be mentoring the artist: ‘It is vitally important for South Africans to support the arts, as well as entrepreneurship, and Joe Govo’s outstanding talent certainly deserves to be in the spotlight.’
Govo’s collections, including his current Rhino Collection, Tableware Collection and Loft Living range, draw inspiration from nature, wildlife, as well as humans and current issues. His Rhino Collection for instance aims to raise awareness for the plight of the rhino, while also celebrating the majestic endangered animal through his designs. This is in line with Tintswalo’s own efforts in this field – Tintswalo Safari Lodge aims to provide funding and support the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC), for a variety of urgently needed anti-poaching interventions in the Manyeleti Game Reserve, Greater Kruger National Park.
With the support of the Tintswalo family and The Hub, Govo has been able to refine his craft and gain further exposure in the process. He is keen to pass on his experience and knowledge to the next generation of up-and-coming artists: ‘I have been fortunate to do what I love most, and now, the biggest highlight for me is taking youngsters under my wing, and teaching them to make ceramics. I believe there is no greater joy than to give someone a skill that will help them make a better life for themselves and provide for their families.’
Two of Tintswalo’s 5-star properties, Tintswalo at Waterfall, north of Johannesburg; and Tintswalo Safari Lodge in the pristine Manyeleti Private Game Reserve; have won a Platinum Award – presented to those restaurants with a total score of between 81% and 90% – in this year’s Diners Club Winelist Awards. Tintswalo Safari Lodge made their debut on the prestigious list for the first time, whilst it is the third Platinum Award for Tintswalo at Waterfall.
The annual awards, now in its 23rd year, recognise those restaurants that excel in their wine selection and pairing of food with wine. Tintswalo seeks to offer both international and local guests interesting wine lists that perfectly complement the cuisine and primarily highlight the abundance of quality wines available in South Africa – from iconic vintages to new trailblazers.
The wine list of Tintswalo at Waterfall was jointly compiled by General Manager Martin Greyling and Operations Manager Willem Schaap. It has a distinctly South African feel, championing local vintages. A short but fine list of French Champagne and exclusive auction wines, as well as a ‘Wines of the World’ section with vintages from France, Italy, Spain, Chile and New Zealand, completes the offering.
Tintswalo Safari Lodge’s Platinum-winning wine list was compiled by Camp Manager Tanja van Tonder. The wine list impresses with an expansive, exclusively South African selection, that includes White blends as well as Bordeaux and Rhône style blends, and with a nod to Europe, a concise French Champagne section.
Mhondoro Safari Lodge has taken the lead as one of the first luxury game lodges to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles in support of Braam Malherbe’s DOT Challenge. Located in the Welgevonden Game Reserve in Limpopo province, the 5-star lodge has invested in a water purification plant that produces drinking water fresh from the surrounding Waterberg mountains. In guest rooms plastic water bottles have been replaced by glass bottles, while each guest receives a personalised aluminium water bottle that can be refilled with fresh, purified water for game drives, and to take along on their return journey home.
Extreme adventurer, highly respected inspirational speaker and conservationist Braam Malherbe conceptualised the DOT Challenge to connect like-minded individuals on a global scale and to encourage every human being to Do One Thing to protect and preserve our planet.
Mhondoro’s entire operation is based on sound environmental conservation practices and it is committed to making a contribution in each of the DOT Challenge categories – water, waste, conservation and energy. All excess waste is 100% recycled, including glass, cans, paper and food. Organic material is composted and used in the lodge’s kitchen garden where up to 45% of the fresh produce used in the restaurant is organically grown.
Other game lodges are challenged to join the #DotChallenge #NoPlasticH2OBottles challenge and ‘Do One Thing’ to help make a positive impact on our environment.
Bouchard Finlayson has introduced exclusive Vintage Tastings for wine enthusiasts interested in older wines, offering a rare opportunity for collectors and wine clubs to explore the maturation potential of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley estate’s lauded wines. Vintage tastings are presented by appointment in the cellar for private groups of up to 20 people, and depending on their availability, may be led by founder Peter Finlayson or winemaker Chris Albrecht. The cost is R3000 for up to 20 people, including cheese and charcuterie bites.
Due to the exclusivity of the vintage tastings on offer, the varietal theme varies according to the older vintage wines available, as well as their taste profile accessibility. Growing on the slopes of Galpin Peak, the elusive Pinot Noir varietal has been Bouchard Finlayson’s jewel and flagship red wine for over 20 years, having earned winemaker Peter Finlayson the name of South Africa’s ‘pinot pioneer’. One of the current Vintage Tastings themes, ‘Vintage Pinot Noirs’, presents the unique opportunity to taste Bouchard Finlayson’s famed Galpin Peak Pinot noir vintages from 1994, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2009. (Depending on stock availability).
Vintage Tastings may also be tailor-made to include other Bouchard Finlayson varietals, such as Chardonnay, unwooded whites, or the Hannibal red blend.
Some of the older vintages are also available for sale at the cellar door, including Bouchard Finalyson Galpin Peak 1998 and 2001 (R500 per bottle).
Bouchard Finlayson recently hosted a Tutored Tasting at Open Wine in Wale Street (Cape Town), showcasing Hannibal, its unique red blend of Italian varietals, with vintages ranging from 2002 to 2011.
In this exciting blind tasting, Hannibal was up against two Italian wines (Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Fiore 2006 and Tenute Silvio Nardi Turan 2011), as well as a locally produced Sangiovese from Idiom, and a Nebbiolo from Morgenster. These two cultivars form the cornerstone of Hannibal, alongside Pinot noir, Shiraz, Mourvédre and Barbera.
Bouchard Finlayson has to date, produced 17 vintages of this unique red blend. Winemaker Chris Albrecht said at the Tasting that the name Hannibal was adopted as a symbolic expression of the synergy with the African elephant participating in linking the winelands of France and Italy together two thousand years ago under the invading command of the classic Carthaginian general.
Recently, the 2014 vintage of Hannibal received excellent ratings both locally and internationally when Neal Martin of Robert Parker’s the Wine Advocate, scored it at 91 points, after it received 93 points from James Suckling last year; and 92 points in the Tim Atkin SA 2016 Report. The wine was also honoured with inclusion in the prestigious SA Sommeliers Selection in 2016.
Tintswalo Safari Lodge has added to its portfolio of ‘Explorer Suites’ with the launch of a new two-bedroom family suite in the Manyeleti Game Reserve, bordering the Kruger National Park. Aimed at families and friends travelling together, the new Grant Suite is connected to the main lodge by a raised wooden walkway that winds through the bush. It offers two en-suite bedrooms with lavish bathrooms, and a spacious lounge with private deck and a large plunge pool overlooking the wilderness.
Designed in the style of a villa to provide guests with a comfortable ‘home-away-from-home’, the Grant Suite includes luxury accommodation, all meals served at the main lodge, house drinks, two private game drives per day in a private game-viewing vehicle with a dedicated tracker and guide, as well as complimentary Wifi and laundry, at a set rate of R43 160 per night for the unit (valid until 30 November 2017).
Accommodating children from the age of 9 and older in the Grant Suite, Tintswalo Safari Lodge offers a tailor-made children’s programme, which aims to provide young visitors with a fun, educational perspective of the African bush. Daily themes focus on different educational aspects of the bush, ranging from South Africa and the Shangaan Culture, to tracking and stargazing – with each theme consisting of a talk, game drive and an exciting activity.
Each of Tintswalo Safari Lodge’s suites have been designed to evoke the colonial adventures of the 19th century explorers after which they are named. The new Grant suite takes its name from James Augustus Grant, a Scottish explorer of Africa who spent much of his time traversing the continent with the renowned John Hanning Speke, in search of the elusive source of the Nile – every explorer’s ‘holy grail’ quest. Grant was known for his commitment to Speke’s voyage, his loyalty, and his resilience during challenging times.