Bouchard Finlayson Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay 2018
South Africa / Overberg
Andy's Tasting Notes
A brilliant value at this price – rich and substantial yet beautifully balanced with nothing jarring or over the top in terms of fruit and oak.
The Crocodile’s Lair vineyard is located 700m above sea level, ripens a month later than others and benefits enormously from cool autumn temperatures. Bunches were added to the press intact and the juices extracted from the berries by long and gentle pressing, yielding more clarity and flavour complexities. Fermentation took place in oak barrels varying in age between new and fifth fill and typically lasted for a week. Thereafter, a proportion of the barrels were prevented from completing malolactic fermentation, thus retaining palate freshness and gaining fruit focus. The final blend was racked from barrel following eight months’ maturation without any stirring of the lees and bottled with a light filtration.
Tim Atkin MW: 93 pts – “… this is zesty, well balanced and effortlessly complex…”
Price per bottle £16.95 £13.95
Bouchard Finlayson is a top class, internationally-renowned estate situated in Walker Bay, mid-way between Cape Point and Cape Agulhas (the most southerly tip of Africa). The climate is largely influenced by the nearby cold Atlantic Ocean rendering it one of the coolest wine-growing areas in the Cape. The Hemel-en-Aarde valley, home to Bouchard Finlayson, is surrounded and sheltered by a mountain barrier, formed by Galpin Peak (810 metres) and the Tower of Babel (1200 metres), which traps the cloud cover and moisture brought in from the sea by the prevailing wind.
The estate is committed to conservation and sustainable farming, and they strongly believe their BWI membership sets them apart from other winemaking regions in the world. BWI (Biodiversity and Wine Initiative) is a partnership between the South African wine industry and the conservation sector, aimed at protecting the Cape’s rich floral kingdom. To this end, only 19ha of their most precious resource – the land – is under vine in order to preserve the natural indigenous fynbos (a valuable ecosystem).