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Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay 2022


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The Kaaimansgat or Crocodile’s Lair vineyard is hidden away in the Elandskloof Valley behind the village of Villiersdorp, just 80km from Hermanus. A beautiful spot inside a blind valley nestled amongst majestic mountains. Bouchard Finlayson has been linked directly to this vineyard for close to twenty six years. It is located 700m above sea level, ripens a month later than other Cape Chardonnays and benefits enormously from cool autumn temperatures. The vines are not irrigated and they produce small berries of high skin to juice ratio, which adds an extra flavour component to this superior wine.

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Cold and exceedingly wet conditions occurred during flowering and berry set late in 2021, pushing the onset of the harvest season ever later. The ripening season during January 2022 however, saw some of the hottest and driest conditions that have been recorded over the past seven years; the rainfall received for this period was atypically low. This allowed for a long, healthy ripening of a concentrated crop. Minimal disease pressure and dilution resulted in the production of fruit of an outstanding quality, in which full phenolic ripeness and refreshingly low natural sugar accumulation was expressed.

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This remarkable vineyard is owned and managed by the fourth generation Roux family, in the viticultural ward also known as Elandskloof. Picking is done by hand and the grapes chilled overnight, before being delivered to the cellar early the following morning. Our pneumatic bag presses are loaded with whole bunches and pressed with multiples rotations, during the three-hour cycle. Fermentation occur in barrel and initiate spontaneously by indigenous yeast populations. The wine matured in French oak for 8 months, with a 23% new component. Bottling in January 2023, the first in amber or dead leaf bottles, adding an additional layer of protection against light degradation.


Alcohol: 13.62 vol%
Acid: 7.1 g/l
Residual Sugar: 2.2 g/l
pH: 3.26
Total SO2: 104 mg/l
Volatile Acidity: 53 mg/l
Allergens: Sulphites
Suitable for Vegans

Tasting notes

Initially reveals sun-dried hay, peachy stone fruit and a dusting of toasted almond shavings. The hallmark creamy citrus fruit flavours build in volume towards a succulent and effortless textural finish. Remains refined and delicate in nature by a balanced tension. Sublime definition. Drink now through 2025.

Food pairing

The richness of the wine works very well with a mild tandoori salmon and coriander chutney. Leafy herb salad with a light drizzle of miso dressing. Classic avocado ritz.

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