The Kaaimansgat or Crocodile’s Lair, is a classic South African-produced Chardonnay. Pour some into a wine glass, swirl it around, and place it under your nose to be carried away by crisp notes of recently-chopped green apples, citrus blooms, lemon peel, and pineapple with a faint nutty aroma provided by wood characteristics from the farm's best French oak barrels. The Kaaimansgat or Crocodile's Lair wines are made from fruit grown in the breathtaking Overberg mountains.

I was first introduced to the Kaaimansgat or Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay about a year ago when I visited Bouchard Finlayson wine farm in Hermanus. Despite being just 80 kilometres from Hermanus and tucked away in the Elandskloof Valley behind the settlement of Villiersdorp, Crocodile's Lair vineyard has maintained a close relationship with Bouchard Finlayson wine farm for thirty vintages. The vineyard, which is 700 meters above sea level and matures one month later than other Cape Chardonnays, greatly benefits from the cool autumn temperatures.

Crocodiles Lair Review by Tebogo Pin-Pin

The Kaaimansgat or Crocodile's Lair Chardonnay's richness pairs beautifully with a green herb salad, traditional avocado ritz, veggies, poultry, mild tandoori salmon, or just your favourite seafood. This Chardonnay also makes the ideal summer picnic wine due to its medium-bodied taste with flawless fruit, barrel flavour, and energizing but gentle acidity.

Since the sun rises early and sets later throughout the summer in Cape Town, I often take advantage of going outside to enjoy my chardonnay in the final few minutes of daylight or early morning sunrises because I believe is best served during summer days. I live in a coastal city so my picnic locations are always somewhere near the ocean with stunning views of the ocean or in nature surrounded by mountains with sweeping vistas of the city. Sometimes we take the simple things for granted like the fact that every single day ends with a gorgeous sunset.

The best part about a picnic is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s something you can up and do spontaneously with a few essentials in mind - Find a special spot where you feel comfortable and can enjoy your surroundings - any patch of grass, a flat piece of rock, your own balcony, or somewhere at the beach will do. Don’t get stuck on what meals or snacks to pack. Unless I want to pair my wine with a particular meal, I occasionally grab whatever snacks I have at home. I also have a picnic basket that I keep in the boot of my car and that gives me the opportunity to go on a picnic whenever I want.

The 1989-founded Bouchard Finlayson wine estate has built a reputation for producing distinctive wines that perfectly capture the distinctive terroir of the Western Cape Winelands over the course of more than three decades. Peter Finlayson, the company's founder, is widely recognised as the father of Pinot Noir in South Africa, and under winemaker Chris Albrecht, the Tête de Cuvée and Galpin Peak are still considered among the best examples made in the Cape. The cellar is renowned for its award-winning Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, the ground-breaking Franco-Italian red blend Hannibal, and a magnificent straw wine made from cool-climate Riesling in addition to this fine Burgundian variety. You may therefore be sure that you are getting premium chardonnay every time you buy a bottle or couple of bottles of the 2021 Kaaimansgat or Crocodile's Lair wine.

Crocodiles Lair Review by Tebogo Pin-Pin

Conservation champion - WWF-SA

Bouchard Finlayson is a WWF-SA Conservation Champion. Conservation Champion wine farms pursue long-term conservation commitments and spearhead innovations in water and energy sufficiency. The Estate has recently moved to use lighter weight bottles saving 6.4 tons of glass per annum. Their packaging and wine labels are FSC certified and dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world's forests.

In the early 2000s there was a rapid expansion of vineyards into highly threatened conservation-worthy habitats. In response, from 2005 – 2015 - a unique conservation sector, landowner and wine industry partnership achieved turnaround results. It was called the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative. This created widespread awareness of their unique natural heritage, and many farms now carry out biodiversity-friendly farming. The SA wine industry has been globally recognised as demonstrating this fine balance between nature and farming.

A sustainable future

From monitoring the water and energy consumption across the estate to constant innovation in their vineyards and cellar, Bouchard Finlayson is on a journey to ensure every step of the winemaking process is built on a foundation of future-focused sustainability. Notably, through the use of modern fining and settling agents, the majority of wines in the Bouchard Finlayson portfolio are now 100% vegan-friendly.


Once the juices are liberated from the berries, they are left to settle for 10 hours in the tank without the addition of any enzymes. These juices, still containing a fair amount of solids, are transferred to the barrels for fermentation. The solids impact the sensory profile and improve mouthfeel. The final blend is racked to tank, following seven months’ maturation.

Tasting notes

Lush mineral spice and stone fruit blossom at the fore. Explosive lime-infused flavours of green apples are amplified by precise energy. The gentle touch of candied ginger and toast. Vivacious and lasting finish.

Crocodiles Lair Review by Tebogo Pin-Pin

100% Chardonnay


Alcohol: 13.5 Vol% | Acid: 5.6 g/l | Residual Sugar: 2.6 g/l | pH: 3.43 | Total SO2: 86 mg/l | Volatile Acidity: 0.56 g/l | Allergens: Sulphites | Suitable for Vegans and you can enjoy it immediately or in 5-6 years.