Monday, February 20, 2012


Bouchard-Finlayson Pinot Noir
After our disappointing visit to Hamilton Russell we decided to try another winery to determine whether finding a good Pinot Noir in South Africa was a fruitless effort.

The tasting room of Bouchard-Finlayson is in a gorgeous thatched roof building.  Workers were in the fields harvesting the grapes and I was ready to taste and have a bite to eat.  The welcome we received was far better than what we had just experienced. 

Bouchard-Finlayson, Hemel en Aarde Valley
The beautiful thatched tasting building

One of the tasting areas

Another tasting area in the barrel room.

Bouchard-Finlayson Chardonnay
We had a great cheese, meat and olive platter for lunch and once again I did not take a picture.  Trust me, it was spectacular and enough food for 3 of us and the cost was $11.00 at the current exchange rate. 

Our favorite white was the Blanc De Mer 2011.  Per the tasting notes this has a Riesling dominance.  The balance is Viognier 22%, Chenin Blanc 10%, Sauvignon Blanc 10%, Chardonnay 5% and Semillon 4%.  The nose was peachy and tropical and on the palate crisp with layers of gooseberries.  I got quite a bit of pineapple, I think my cousin snorted hers from trying to pick up the pineapple notes.  Please note the tasting pours that we get, this is not the 1oz pours in the States.

The Chardonnay Crocodile's Lair 2010 was drinkable.  A titch too much French Oak for my cousin and I, but we both agreed that this was one of the better Chardonnay's out there.  Per the tasting notes it states a 'white peach' personality which I did not find, but my nose is still a baby in picking up various notes, so I am not going to argue with the wine maker.

Bouchard-Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2010
My cousin and I were eager to try their Pinot Noir. Were we going to be disappointed? Was the trip to Hermanus a bust?

I eagerly held my glass up to my schnoz and inhaled.  The bouquet was lots of plum and a titch spicy.  I swirled my glass and took my first sip.  It was smooth, plummy, spicy and a winner.  We both agreed that we had found a great Pinot Noir and promptly placed our orders.

Our wonderful wine hostess.

Wine prices in South African Rands

What a great place to have a conference.

Harvesting Pinot Noir. He was so happy to pose for me.

He then removed his hat and was happy to pose with the grapes.

More happy harvesters

I would agree.

We were happy we found a great South African Pinot Noir.  I will be bringing a bottle home with me to share with my friends, I am sure they will mirror my findings.  



  1. Cheers to huge wine tasting pours! I remember my first time wine tasting in Puglia and just being blown away by the size of the pours. Larger pours had the curious effect of letting me taste the wine better. *Shock*

    Thanks for sharing your South African adventures.

  2. That winery is beautiful! Just absolutely beautiful!

    I want to go to there!

    (apologies to Liz Lemon -

    More, please!!!

  3. I am LOVING reading about your winetasting adventures!

  4. Success! By the way, those are really great pics.

  5. It looks absolutely beautiful there. I'm not a connoisseur of wine, but languages, that's another story. I love that it's in Hemel en Aarde.

    Are English and Afrikaans spoken almost interchangeably there? Are there other languages that exist there as well?

  6. You better bring a second bottle, just for me. You know how much catching up I have to do. Just sayin'

  7. This winery looks more welcoming and therefore to find a good Pinot Noir is a great discovery. So pleased for you.

  8. Gorgeous photos!! Almost so pretty, it wouldn't matter what the wine tasted like, but glad you found a winner. We miss you in the States, but love living vicariously through you. A titch of South Africa though is just a tease!!

  9. Wonderful photos! I really am enjoying all of your pics from your trip. Its always fun to see how other countries process grapes. I was amazed at how short the trellis is! Your home country is so BEAUTIFUL!


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