The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and its associated terroir has consistently proven itself as one of the Cape’s most treasured Chardonnay locations. It is therefore fitting that Bouchard Finlayson takes the lead in showcasing it’s delicious vintages as part of International Chardonnay Day on 23 May 2019.
The Chardonnay grape variety originated in Burgundy (France), but today is grown in most wine regions throughout the world. Chardonnay first became popular in the 1980’s and is now seeing a resurgence in the international consumer market where the new world Chardonnays are generally known for their buttery oak flavours.
In the words of Bouchard Finlayson founder, Peter Finlayson, Chardonnay is ‘the most malleable of all white grapes; it is the easiest to be good at but the most difficult of wines to make really great.’ Celebrated on the world stage year on year, the range of Chardonnays produced by Bouchard Finlayson has raked in a bouquet of awards presented to its three labels that include flagship Missionvale; popular Crocodile’s Lair/Kaaimansgat; and the unique, unwooded San Barrique Chardonnay.
Regarded as one of the finest Chardonnays, Bouchard Finlayson’s Missionvale Chardonnay is produced from grapes harvested exclusively from the Estate. The name Missionvale stems from the mission hospital established on the domain property in the early 19th century. The 2016 vintage has been lauded globally, bringing home a Gold Medal in the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2018, and scoring 92 points from James Suckling and 93 points from Tim Atkin MW in his South Africa Special Report 2018. With eleven months in the best French oak barrels, this is a ‘commanding wine with solid backbone and a lengthy, lingering palate.’ Flavours of pear and melon enhanced by peachy taste sips offer a lively and long-lasting mouth feel. Best wood maturation has complimented to offer complexity and structure, which will grow and embolden this wine over the next five years. Expect nutty flavoured integration as the aging process evolves. Soft cheese, fish pâté, Bouillabaisse or fish all work splendidly with this vintage, as well as chicken or sushi dishes. (Bouchard Finlayson 2016 Missionvale Chardonnay R276 per bottle from the Estate)
Bouchard Finlayson’s Crocodile’s Lair/Kaaimansgat Chardonnay is crafted from grapes grown in the Elandskloof Valley behind Villiersdorp, 80km from Hermanus. Bouchard Finlayson has been linked directly to this vineyard for close to 26 years, which at 700m above sea level, benefits from cool autumn temperatures. The essence of capturing complexity drives the flavour profile of the 2017 vintage. Structured with many layered flavour components arising from combinations of the best French Oak, yeast, lees contact and finest fruit, which all reward the palate with a kaleidoscope of tastes. This pleasing palate adventure offers hints of litchi, white peach, kiwi fruit, strawberry smoothie and golden tangerine combining to generate a memorable taste experience. Aging potential is excellent. Winemaker Chris Albrecht quips: ‘Treat seriously and sip slowly, this is not just another glass of wine!’ The 2017 vintage scored 93 points in Tim Atkin MW‘s 2018 South Africa Special Report. A great companion to white meat and rich seafood such as lobster bisque. Other perfect pairing suggestions include soft cheese and mushroom risotto. (Bouchard Finlayson Crocodile’s Lair/Kaaimansgat Chardonnay R174 per bottle from the Estate)
Achieving the character associated with the best Chardonnay wines, usually happens through maturing in French Oak barrels. Without employing any magic recipe, the Sans Barrique lives up to its name (unwooded) in arriving through well monitored basic wine making. A pure expression from two locations – the Bouchard Finlayson Estate and the exceptional Elandskloof vineyards, grapes are fermented in stainless steel tank under ideal temperature control that has led to the arrival of a well-structured, crisp, white Chardonnay, after three weeks from harvest. A host of perfumed reminders relating to apple, gooseberry, guava and sweet melon tease the taste senses while the organic compliment of lees tones adds complexity and assists with aging potential. This is a shell fish delight which is happily enjoyed with sushi, summer salads and all fruits of the sea. (Bouchard Finlayson Sans Barrique Unwooded Chardonnay R162 per bottle from the Estate)