I recently got together with a group of friends to watch the Springboks play the
All Blacks in Nelspruit and we reckoned that a momentous test match against the old foes called for the opening of a very special bottle of wine. Our choice - the Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2020.

Anzel Rabie with friends

Now you might think that a Pinot Noir might be way to elegant to enjoy while watching a game of rugby and looking back at the brutal and destructive performance by the Springboks, you might very well be correct. However, as I enjoyed the game, I realized the Pinot Noir in my glass and the Springboks in action had several similarities.

Let’s take it back to 2019, the last time I had a bottle of Galpin Peak Pinot Noir. I can fondly remember that it was one of the best bottles of South African Pinot Noir I’ve ever had.
I'd even go so far as to say that it shouldn't stand back for any French or New Zealand Pinot Noir, especially when you factor in the price. In that same year, the Springboks won the World Cup and Galpin Peak won my personal wine championship.

Fast forward back to 2022 and the 16-10 annihilation of South Africa over New Zealand. There was one player on the field who truly embodied Galpin Peak Pinot Noir – Kurt Lee Arendse.

Let me explain.

Like Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt Lee was thought to be too light to be an international rugby player, but when you watch him play for a while, you realize that looks can be deceiving and that he is actually a lot stronger than he looks, because of the amount of heart he plays and defends with. The exact thing happens when you pour your first glass of Galpin peak Pinot Noir. Galpin Peak may seem like a light wine when you look at it in your glass, but it has a lot more depth, weight, and character than you might expect after taking your first sip. On the nose you will find hints of black cherry, plum and vanilla. After taking a sip you will enjoy the cherry, spice flavours and light tannins on the palate. The lingering aftertaste was just as marvellous as the achievement of beating the All Blacks by the biggest margin in 95 years.
Even though it is recommended to serve Pinot Noir’s very chilled, I would be careful to overdo it – you don’t want to miss out on the oak & earthy notes.

Anzel Rabie with a bottle of Bouchard Finlayson's Galpin Peak

If you want to open and drink it right away, I won’t blame you. As the flavour profile however improves over time, patience is rewarded.

A perfect bottle of wine to celebrate the Boks' incredible victory. It was a wonderful occasion to share with friends and this made me realize, Pinot Noir and relationships with those you share it with also have a lot in common

When you start a relationship with somebody you meet, you talk about the light-hearted things – the weather, your plans for the weekend, and what you are wearing to a dance. When you spend time with a person, you delve into their heart, and start understanding the blood, sweat and tears that person went through to become the person he or she is today – same as the Pinot Noir.

As with this Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, the longer the relationship lasts, the more enjoyable it becomes. It improves with every sip as the taste accumulates on your palate and takes you on a journey through the Hemel and Aarde Valley.

After having experienced the farm and the lovely custodians who make sure everything was taken care of, I am not surprised that Bouchard Finlayson delivers wines of this quality.

They are not only focused on producing exceptional Pinot Noir’s and Chardonnays, but 80% of their land is focused on protecting the indigenous ‘fynbos’ vegetation. This shows that Bouchard Finlayson is not one dimensional but wants the area to showcase what it is known for – something that winemaker Chris Albrecht also nailed on the head since the terroir is perfectly resembled in the wines he produces!

Written by: Anzél Rabie