Bouchard Finlayson - A Boutique Winery

The Vineyard

22 hectares (54 acres) of the estate are currently under vine, with 50% devoted to the varietal for which Peter is most acclaimed - Pinot noir. Other cultivars under production include Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc and Sangiovese as well as some newer varieties - Nebbiolo, Barbera and Mourvèdre - a rare find in new-world wine growing regions but which are well suited to the terroir of the farm.

Out of the red grape varieties, and a few years of experimentation, the Hannibal blend was born, a wine that Peter describes as ‘an orchestra of flavours performed from the notes of different Italian and French cultivars’. The blending of Sangiovese with Pinot noir is arguably unique.

The meticulous vineyard practices are based on the Burgundian principal of high-density planting with low yields from the individual vines. 9000 vines are planted per hectare to encourage greater surface of leaf exposure and restrict root growth. This improves fruit concentration, which is so essential to the making of truly great wines.

Most of the pruning is on a double ‘Guyot’ system resulting in a greater surface area of leaf exposure per hectare and restricted root growth, to obtain greater concentration of fruit extract. Again following Burgundian production principles, approximately 35% of the green fruit is picked and left on the ground, leaving the remaining 65% of the harvest to develop greater flavour concentration. 

While the selective planting of vines continues, so does the policy of purchasing grapes from quality producers in the area. One such contracted vineyard is the Kaaimansgat (Crocodiles lair) vineyard. This is a unique vineyard site in a blind valley, high in the Cape Coastal mountains. Chardonnay grapes are grown on non-irrigated slopes at 700 meters elevation in very cool conditions, consistently delivering grapes of superior quality.

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