Renowned international wine critic James Suckling has announced the latest ratings in his annual showcase of the great wines of the world on In this year’s round-up Suckling and his small team tasted more than 16,000 wines from as far afield as Italy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Australia, New Zealand, California, Chile and Argentina, as well as 500 wines from South Africa.  So you might ask “who exactly is this guy?”, in a nutshell, he is a renowned wine and cigar critic and former Senior Editor of the European Bureau Chief of Wine and European Editor of Cigar Aficionado.

Moving the focus back to South Africa.  Five of Bouchard Finlayson’s current vintage were acknowledged as ‘outstanding wines’ notching up scores of more than 90 points. Suckling acknowledged the Hemel-en-Aarde estate in particular for producing fine, Burgundy-inspired bottlings, as well as its ‘sensational Pinot noir/Sangiovese blend, Hannibal’.

 Bouchard Finlayson - bottle shot whites and reds

The Hannibal 2016 scored 94 and was cited as one of Suckling’s favourites. A blend of Sangiovese, Pinot noir, Nebbiolo, Shiraz, Mourvedre and Barbera, ‘this shows leather, dried rose petals, spice box, red liquorice, nutmeg and bacon spices with hints of cloves. The palate is succulent and delicious. Really punctuated by the bright acidity that seeps through layers of red fruit and dried flower undertones. Polished, pretty tannins and a long finish.’

Another top performer at 94 points, the Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak 2016 received high praise and was described as ‘showing aromas of caramelized lemon peel, cloves, jasmine, eucalyptus, raspberry cheesecake and darker elements of black plums and cherries. The serving of the fruit on the palate is impressive, but it’s all so well contained by the encompassing acidity and silky tannins. A long finish.’

Both the 2017 Blanc de Mer and the 2016 Missionvale Chardonnay were scored at 92 points. The Missionvale, which also won a Gold medal in the UK Decanter competition recently, was described by Suckling as having a delicious full body with a textured and oily palate, pretty acidity and a long finish with ‘lots papaya, mangoes, cream, spices, praline, candied citrus peel, apple pastries and vanilla’. The Blanc de Mer white blend was defined as ‘apple tart, dried apricots, dust and hot stones. Medium to full body, vibrant acidity, fleshy stone and tropical fruit. A spicy, nutmeg finish’,

 Finally, scored at 91 points, the 2014 Walker Bay Pinot Noir was declared ‘decadent and beautiful. Aromas of dried strawberries, leather and orange peel following through to a full body. Round and soft tannins and a juicy, rich finish.’




 Do you want to know more about Bouchard Finlayson?

Established in 1989 in the temperate Hemel-en-Aarde Valley on 125 hectares (312 acres) of Walker Bay’s prime viticultural land, Bouchard Finlayson Vineyard and Winery is a small cellar dedicated to the quality production of Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. Ever since releasing their first vintages, the name Bouchard Finlayson has been internationally synonymous with excellence. Today, owned by the Red Carnation Hotels’ Tollman family and under the leadership of Victoria Tollman, founder Peter Finlayson and winemaker Chris Albrecht, 25 hectares (62 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 a handful under exploration. Bouchard Finlayson is a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Conservation Champion.  

Situated on the R320 near Hermanus, Bouchard Finlayson vineyard and winery is open for tastings and sales Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 17h00 and on Saturdays from 10h00 to 13h00. For further information, call +27 28 312 3515; email; or visit

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