Exploring the Bouchard Finlayson vineyard with winemaker Chris Albrecht


As part of the Azure Wine Dinner series, we interview Bouchard Finlayson winemaker Chris Albrecht.


14th November 2018

The Twelve Apostles Hotel

An award-winning winemaker located in the heart of South Africa’s Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Bouchard Finlayson is the ideal partner for The Twelve Apostles’ final Food and Wine Pairing of 2018. Specialising in Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot noir, the vineyard and winery is owned by The Red Carnation Hotel Collection’s Tollman family. Here, Bouchard Finlayson’s winemaker Chris Albrecht discusses the vineyard’s sustainable approach to winemaking as well as its renowned Pinot noir.

Bouchard Finlayson

What is it about the Hemel-en-Aarde region that makes is so well suited to growing grapes?

“The ancient clay-rich soils and mild climate, moderated by the Atlantic, meets the demands needed for sensitive varieties like Pinot noir, for the growing of high quality wine.”

What defines the wine made at Bouchard Finlayson?

“We believe that the style of our wines should be dictated by the vineyards. Here we practise high-density plantings, doubling the standard amount of vines per hectare. Furthermore, the average age of our vineyards are 15 to 20 years – which has a positive impact on the quality of the resulting wine. “

Bouchard Finlayson

Can you describe a typical day for you on the estate?

“Typically I’ll spend a little time in the vineyards before checking in with the cellar team, perhaps doing a few wine tastings and a good deal of admin too!”

How does your past experience as winemaker in France, California and New Zealand contribute to the work you now do at Bouchard Finlayson?

“Being exposed to how different cultures approach the process of winemaking opens the mind. The insights and lessons learnt have helped me navigate the numerous unpredicted curve balls that inevitably come your way in this industry.”

Bouchard Finlayson 

What can diners expect from the Food and Wine Pairing with Bouchard Finlayson at The Twelve Apostles?

“Christo and his team put in a lot of effort, not only making delicious food but also striving to create an exceptional pairing. It elevates the flavours to new heights.”

If you had to pick just one Bouchard Finlayson wine as your favourite, which would you choose?

“The Galpin Peak Pinot noir is the signature wine from our stable and most credit for our success is due to it. It also happens to be my favourite.”

Bouchard Finlayson

 Bouchard Finlayson is a WWF Conservation Champion; how do you balance winemaking with environmental concerns?

“We have an integrated approach to viticulture, where both conventional and biologic controls are implemented to protect our crops. Through the exclusion of insecticides on vineyards and composting of winery waste, we minimise our impact on the environment.”

Join Red Carnation Hotels’ The Twelve Apostles at Azure Restaurant for the Food and Wine Pairing with Bouchard Finlayson on 30th November 2018.

Image credits: all images courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels and Bouchard Finlayson.

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