Galpin Peak does it again for SA Pinot Noir on the international stage

AT THE 2015 Global Pinot Noir Masters staged by The Drinks Business in the UK, Bouchard Finlayson’s Tête de Cuvée Galpin Peak 2012 from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley outside Hermanus and David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner 2013 from the Cederberg Private Cellar won gold medals, with silvers going to the 2013 Galpin Peak, Finlayson’s neighbour Hamilton Russell for their 2013 vintage, Domaine des Dieux on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge for their Josephine 2011 and the 2013 vintage from Whalehaven at the entrance to the valley. In the 2016 edition of the Masters, at which all of the judges are British Masters of Wine, Bouchard Finlayson was again the flag-bearer for South Africa, winning gold for the Galpin Peak 2013 and silver for the Tête de Cuvée 2012.

France’s Burgundy region is most famous for the red wines made from Pinot Noir but, as The Drinks Business judges reiterated, there are also fine examples – many selling for a lot less than the “ruinously priced” grand crus of Burgundy – that hail from Central Otago and Martinborough in New Zealand, Yarra Valley in Australia, Leyda and Casablanca in Chile, Alto Adiga in Italy, Oregan’s Willamette and California’s Edna Valley in the USA as well as South Africa. Most of the Cape’s top Pinot producers are located in the Walker Bay district that encompasses the various Hemel-en-Aarde wards, with six wines from the area included among the Top 10 in the 2016 SA Wine Classification and ten of them among the country’s Top 20 – Elgin being the next most successful appellation in recent years, followed by the other districts some way down the ladder, generally speaking. To drive the point home: two of the three Pinot Noirs in the 2016 Top Wine SA Hall of Fame are WO Hemel-en-Aarde – including Bouchard Finlayson!

A boutique operation owned by the Tollman family and under the leadership of Victoria Tollman together with cellarmaster Peter Finlayson, Bouchard Finlayson was established in 1989 and the 2013 vintage of Galpin Peak is the 21st – Peter Finlayson having been the first winemaker in the valley when he and Tim Hamilton Russell teamed up to begin a new chapter in the history of Wine SA. It’s a beautiful location and one of the few places on earth where the balance of soil and climate is conducive to really good expressions of the ‘heartbreak grape’.

A “polished profile of flavours without being overstated,” is how the proprietors describe the 2013 Galpin Peak, also highly rated (5 Stars) in the 2016 edition of Platter’s. “Classically Old World with good ageing potential. Peppery spice with blackberry and cherry notes, ending in a harmonious and long, earthy finish.”

R305 a bottle at the cellar door. Not bad, considering…