Welcome to the Western Cape Wineries - a kiwi's opinion blog

I originally set up this blog to help foreigners have an enjoyable experience when visiting the western cape wineries in South Africa.

I realised that it is very difficult for a tourist to choose where to go and which wineries to visit, when you have 600+ wine producers to choose from.

When I first moved to SA December 2010, my palate struggled to adjust to SA wine, b
ut after living here for a while and after visiting over 100+ wine estates, I have found many wines which I really like and can highly recommend.

Admittingly, when you come from another country it is hard not to compare the wine in SA to what you are used to back home. However, once you realise they are not the same (they have their own characteristics due to the different soil, climate etc) and appreciate their wines for being SA wines, it will improve your opinion and experience of the wines immediately.

If you are staying in SA for a while, don't dispair, your palate will change, and you will soon find yourself liking SA wine over your home countries wine!!

I hope my blog will help wine lovers have an enjoyable wine experience while in SA.

Please note: I am not a wine connoisseur. The comments I write about the wine is mostly for my own benefit of having them on record.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Bouchard Finlayson

We unfortunately had a bad experience here, so I do apologise if this review is a bit negative. I will endeavour to go back to this winery again, to see if it was just bad timing, bad service or a bad year for their wine....

The winery itself is very nice. The drive up is nice, the bulding is nice, the garden is nice.

When we walked in, it took a few minutes to be greeted, we were asked how many were in our group and we said 6. She then informed us that if there are 6 or more people you must pay R40 per person for a tasting and you can only try wines 1 - 7 from the list. We then asked if we could sit in two groups of three (as a joke) so we didn't have to pay, but it was not taken so well.

I had read in the 2010 platters guide that the tasting would be R20 per person for groups of 6 or more, which I thought was pretty reasonable. But R40 I thought was a bit steep and I thought it was weird that you can't try all the wines, even though you are now paying!!

One of the people in our group decided not to taste the wines, so we sat down as a group of 5 and no longer had to pay, AND, we could try all the wines available for tasting, which was wines 1 - 9 on the list.

Then, it seemed that the lady who greeted us was not impressed with our group, it appeared that we were not worthy of her time and expertise in wine, and therefore we were served by another lady who didn't know anything about the wine, and only after the 4th wine actually decided to tell us something, and she had to use tasting notes to do so. But on the first 4 wines, she didn't tell us what we were tasting, what year it was, nothing!! She literally just poured the wine.

What made things worse, is that out of all five of us, we didn't enjoy any of the wines. A lot of them had a sour taste to them, and just didn't appeal to our palate. Having said that, the Blanc de Mer 2011 (R75) was ok, it was light and zesty.  Here are the notes I made about the other wines: The Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (R84) was sharp, sour, and fruity. The Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2010 (R114) was smooth and zesty. The Chardonnay Sans Barrique 2010 (R108) was in my opinion not balanced and was sharp and sour. The Chardonnay Crocodiles Lair Limited Edition 2010 (R151) was 50% wooded. (I guess this is when we finally got told information on the wine). This wine was smooth, smelled nice, and tasted of apricots. The Chardonnay Crocodiles Lair 2010 (R114) had a nice smell, was smooth, yet had a sour/zesty taste. The Chardonnay Missionvale 2010 (R142) was light, sour and zesty. The Hannibal 2008 (R184) was a blend of Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, and Nebbiolo. This wine was ok/nice. Last of all the Pinot Noir Galpin Peak 2010 (R245) was nice but had a sour aftertaste.

As you can see, the wine is rather pricey. Dispite the high prices and poor service, there was just nothing that appealed to any of us, and therefore none of us bought a bottle of the wine.

When we left, I thought, I wonder if the girl who originally served us thought, yeah, see, they didn't buy wine anyway, complete waste of time and money.

So that was our experience, it was disappointing. None of us had heard of this winery before, and as it was one of 5 wineries we still had on our list to visit along this road, we were all looking forward to our visit.

If you are a group of 6 or more and you also don't want to pay R40 per person, I suggest walking in in groups of 5 or less and pretending you don't know each other. I do think you get better service if you do the tasting standing at the bar, as the lady who was serving there, really seemed to know her wine. I overheard her talking and she sounded passionate about the wine and knowledgable.

In the tasting room there is a cellar room you can have a look around, which is very nice.

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