Let’s set the scene…

It was a cool autumn afternoon, around 15/16 degrees Celsius with a gentle breeze coming off Table Mountain. David Hazeltine’s Life’s Love Songs played in the background while we took in the gently fading light. It was just the two of us – after a long weekend, filled with family.

It was at this moment that we decided to open the Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2021 – the new vintage from the highly regarded producer in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley. We decided not to chill the wine – something I would typically do with a Pinot Noir. But, I felt that the weather didn’t call for it and, instead, we opened the bottle at room temperature. As I gently poured the wine into large Burgundy-style glasses, the colour tones made me think of the autumnal season we’re now in: not too pink and not too brown, a deep salmon tone with a hint of copper.

Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2021 reviewed By Amy Hopkins

That same weekend, I went to a tasting at a Stellenbosch farm where I was challenged by the different expressions of Chenin Blanc on the nose and palate. But upon opening this bottle, I could assuredly take in its distinctly Pinot Noir aromas. The first notes that came up for me were hibiscus with a touch of warm spice and something earthy or ever-so-slightly herbaceous. These notes translated to a pleasant mouthfeel and palate that made me think of cranberries, warm baking spices, an ever-so-subtle touch of rooibos. As the wine opened, I tasted more of the luscious juicy red fruits.

But, this is no fruity-tooty Pinot – it has an elegance and sophistication that makes you want to sit back and slowly savour it. Which is exactly what we did. While Pinot Noir is the lightest of the red varieties, this vintage, for me, stands tall as a wine to be enjoyed throughout the seasons. It’s not so complex that it needs to be served with a meal, but can be thoroughly enjoyed as we had it, winding down on a Sunday afternoon.

Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2021 reviewed By Amy Hopkins

I served a plate of lemony-honey roasted carrots with Ras El Hanut spice, toasted walnuts and coriander, which I think paired quite well with the Pinot. We discussed other dishes we might want to serve alongside the beautiful wine: grilled salty, buttery corn-on-the-cob; smoky, garlicky mushroom kebabs… Grilled yellowtail or hot-off-the-coals salmon would work beautifully too.

The 2021 is a beautiful expression of Pinot Noir and is a wine you can confidently present to fellow wine lovers and enjoy throughout the year.