{wine} Last of the summer wine: Bouchard Finlayson’s most beloved sippers

The seasonality of Bouchard Finlayson‘s range of white wines will undoubtedly carry the carefree remnants of summer through into autumn, and well into the warm fireplace evenings of winter.


The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley lies like an unexplored vineyard of dreams in front of me. Only recently starting to venture into the cooler climate Elgin wines, I feel as if I’m slowly edging even closer to this promised land that flanks the picturesque Walker Bay coast line.

A few weeks ago, as if by (very!) divine intervention through Dionysus, I received an incredibly generous gift from Bouchard Finlayson, as if to remind me that there’s more to our beautiful province than what lies within an hour radius from the city bowl. A lure, if you wish, to explore further, to taste more, to discover where heaven and earth meets.

A stunning box of  wines, still clothed in their summer attires, a celebration of the inevitable changing of the seasons – one of those natural phenomena I can write books about. A collection of their most beloved summer wines, and I couldn’t wait to embark on this virtual journey.


One of South Africa’s most awarded boutique wine estates lies in a scenic valley, just an hour and a half from Cape Town, called Hemel-en-Aarde or Heaven-and-Earth.

Bouchard Finlayson is globally acclaimed for producing the best Pinot Noir in South Africa, as well as exceptional Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. The vineyards are surrounded by an indigenous floral conservancy alive with birdsong and wildflowers. Beyond the beauty of the farm itself, you can discover the enchantments of the local area. Some of the popular attractions of nearby Hermanus include whale-watching; shark-cage diving; mountain hiking or biking; browsing art, antiques and shops; and of course, the white sandy beaches (https://www.bouchardfinlayson.co.za/).

Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Tasting notes: tangy apple, fig and pineapple fruit flavours. An approachable nature and silky texture, with wet stone elements adding to overall complexity. Mouth-watering and integrated finish.
In the vineyard:  88.5% Sauvignon Blanc & 11.5% Semillon
In the cellar:  Following a long, cool fermentation, textural development is encouraged by a significant period of maturation on lees (sur lie). 
Cellar door price: 
  approx. R115 per bottle 

Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay 2018

Tasting notes: Sleek and refined, a most enjoyable spicy lemon drop aroma complexity announces white peach, nectarine and pear flavour delight. A refreshing salinity graces a lasting finish. Aging potential is excellent.
In the vineyard:  100% Chardonnay
In the cellar:  Fermentation happens in oak barrels varying in age between new and fifth fill and typically lasts for a week.
Awards & Accolades:  GOLD MEDAL, Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, 2020

93 POINTS, Tim Atkin MW, South Africa Special Report, 2020
93 POINTS, James Suckling, 2020
Cellar door price:    approx. R180 a bottle

Blanc de Mer 2019

Tasting notes: Pineapple and apricot fruit purity, packed with floral perfume. Silken richness and elegance combine to entice the senses. A lemony persistence, with saline highlights, makes for an appealing finish. Great now, but will develop additional complexity.
In the vineyard:  69% Riesling, 20% Viognier, 9% Chardonnay, 2% Sauvignon Blanc
In the cellar:  Both Riesling and Viognier are fermented cool and matured separately in steel tanks, until blended in unison, with the mediating role of Chardonnay.
Cellar door price: 
  approx. R95 per bottle

Sans Barrique Chardonnay 2018

Tasting notes: Hallmark lemony texture – hinting at cool summer nights. Brilliant pear, quince and orange blossom focuses around a lively core of moderate intensity. The wine exhibits fine harmony, with a creamy substance expanding over the length of the palate.
In the vineyard:  100% Chardonnay
In the cellar:  An unwooded component of our Estate Chardonnay is introduced prior to
bottling, contributing a stone fruit complexity
Cellar door price: 
  approx. R180 a bottle

Sweet summer fruits

As we bid farewell to the sumptuous, sun-kissed cheeks of stone fruit, I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of lemons as the skies draw cooler. There’s something so comforting about the smell of lemon peel, the zesty, juicy acidity and the way it loves to be baked. Just like peaches, plums, and nectarines, lemons are my baker’s friends, and I fall back on these fruits quite often when I’m in the mood for dessert.

To accentuate the timeless qualities of Bouchard Finlayson‘s white wines, and to show how they carry across seasons, I made two of my favourite seasonal treats.  Lemon crinkle cookies, loaded with coconut and lemon zest, deliciously soft when you bite into it, and a rum and brown sugar upside-down peach cake.

I found magic in these combinations, as they all worked flawlessly and fluidly. The softness of the cookies with the juicy acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc, but also divine with the richer notes of the Blanc de Mer. The caramelised notes of the peach cake, dripping with oaky undertones from the rum – a gorgeous match for the complex Chardonnays, yet light enough to soothe the Sauvignon Blanc’s fruit tang.

In conclusion

An afternoon well spent, as the brightness of the day started to dwindle sooner, and the cold came a bit earlier. There’s something about the changing of seasons that intrigue me, capture me and romance me, not much different to Bouchard Finlayson‘s summer white wines.

Thank you, Bouchard Finlayson, for this incredible opportunity to celebrate your classic white wines through the seasons.

Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated / credited, are also my own.

The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.

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