Audi & Bouchard Finlayson Drive Day

A while back I reviewed a Peroni event that I attended and I was bemoaning the fact that so few events offer a memorable experience these days. This Audi & Bouchard Finlayson event was one of the few I’ve been to that really stood out from the rest.

We arrived at Audi in the Waterfront around mid morning and spent half an hour enjoying a coffee and meeting the rest of the media in attendance (I also took a few minutes to drool over the R8 Spyder). After a quick explanation of the routes and stops, we paired up and hopped into our cars. I paired up with Christian Eedes, a well known wine personality (you can read his write of this event at his blog What I Drank Last Night). We selected the A8 as our first vehicle, but we got to drive all four vehicles en route to the destination, Bouchard Finlayson near Hermanus.

The four vehicles were the A8 (R1.2m), A7 (R750 000), A6 (R500 000) and Q7 (R650 000). Those prices are approximate and obviously vary depending on the options you select. These were seriously impressive vehicles. Each of them appealed to me for different reasons. The A8 for decadent luxury with a serious punch. That 4.2 litre engine is really powerful whether pulling off or accelerating at high speed for over taking. It’s a large car with the sorts of extras and technology you would expect at that price.

The A7 was an awesome sporty drive. The 3L engine in a light weight body made for exhilirating performance. It’s the choice for a person who wants to actually enjoy the drive, not just get to a destination. The A6 was a little disappointing due to it having the smallest engine of the four, but it does come with the same engine as the A7, if you’re prepared to pay for it. Obviously when I say I’m disappointed, I’m talking relative to the other cars we drove that day. I would give both my arms to be driving an A6 (but would obviously require a special steering wheel in that case). The Q7 was surprisingly quick off the mark for its size, and SUVs always give that great feeling of owning the road due to their height. Lacking slightly in features compared to the others, it’s also one of the cheaper options.

In my opinion Audi is ahead of the other German marques in terms of design and even performance. I drive a BMW myself, but when it’s time to upgrade, I’ll be taking a close look at my options in the Audi camp.

So we arrived at Bouchard Finlayson with big smiles on our faces and a dash of adrenalin coursing through our veins. We parked the cars on the grass and took a million photos while drinking in the beautiful scenery. Minutes later we were drinking in the beautiful wine. Peter Finlayson produces some of the best wines in the country. We were treated to a selection, starting with Blanc de Mer, a blend of Weisser Rhiesling, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc & Chenin Blanc.

Our three course lunch was courtesy of 12 Apostles chef Henrico Grobbelaar, a sampling of the menu at Azure restaurant. While I wasn’t convinced by some of the pairings, the food and the wine were both excellent. I enjoyed the seared beef carpaccio as a starter with parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil. It was paired with the 2009 Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, a speciality of Bouchard Finlayson. For mains I selected the roasted quail with roasted garlic risotto, red wine reduction and king oyster mushroom. This was paired with the 2007 Pinot Noir, a superb example of this variety. Dessert was apple crumble with home made custard and we ended the meal with a cheese platter and glass of 2008 Hannibal, a beautifully robust (16 months French oak) blend of Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Mourvedré, Barbera & Shiraz.

The event organisers (Marcus Brewster PR) organised chauffeurs to drive us back to town, a smart move because it meant we could enjoy our long boozy lunch. Christian and I snatched a bottle of the award winning Crocodile’s Lair / Kaaimansgat Chardonnay and two glasses before diving for the backseat of the A8. The drive back seemed to fly by, we arrived back at the Waterfront soon after finishing the bottle of wine. The short trip may have been due to us racing the A7 through several sections of road (and winning).

And that was the end of a memorable event. Enjoy more photos from the event in the Relax with Dax gallery.