Renowned international wine critic James Suckling has announced the latest ratings in his annual showcase of the great wines of the world on JamesSuckling.com. 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.
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’.
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.’
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