I remember drinking a particularly good bottle of wine with Billy Hofmeyr in the 1980s. He was sitting to my right at a dinner table for 8. Quietly under his breath., he said, “what a privilege to drink this wine.” I felt the same when we recently had a bottle of this sublime wine. Bellevue has a huge part in the history of Pinotage. From the time that Professor Charl Theron de Waal, at the request of the inventor of this grape, Professor Abraham Perold made the first Pinotage into a barrel of wine in 1941. Sadly, Perold die before being able to taste the wine. The first time that Pinotage appeared on a wine label was the 1959 Vintage which was released in 1961. It was made at Bellevue with Pinotage grapes harvested by PK Morkel on his Bottelary Hills Farm in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. The bulk wine was then sent to Stellenbosch Farmer’s Winery for bottling. The grapes for the Bellevue Pinotage Reserve 2016 came from 20- to 63-year-old vineyards. This wine, made by Wilhelm Kritzinger, had excellent elevation in the cellar, and spent 18 months in new 225 litre French Oak Barrels and 2nd fill 300 litre French coopered American oak barrels. The wine was then prepared for bottling.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is elegant and simple. Th aromas and flavours segue one into the other, wonderful, refined Pinot Noir fruit, cherries raspberry. The Hermitage [now called Cinsaut] adds its country lane fruits, mulberry, roadside bramble and plums. The fruit and the raspberry acidity are supported by the ripe velvety tannins and the oak with its concomitant spice and vanilla. A truly impressive glass, the history and the sense of place play and important part. Eminently drinkable now, it will reward after a couple of years of cool cellaring.
Pair – perfect with a good spicy boerewors of the braai, a well-cooked tranche of steak with a red wine sauce or a piece of hard Cheddar type cheese.
The grapes for this wine were harvested in the year following the breaking of the worst drought in living memory. The crop was small from these 43-year-old vines, and the bunches had small berries. The final wine therefore has concentrated flavours. Three months on the lees added so much to the wonderful mouthfeel, big fruit mid-palate. The classical Chenin white flowers, honey, crisp apple and guava are evident on the nose. The palate is full and rich and generous. Here the stone fruits, ripe white fleshed peaches, sliced ripe pear and honeysuckle appear. A very drinkable, at almost 2 years old. I think if you cool cellared the wine for a year or two, it will certainly be better for it.
Dalewood Fromage Simond – lekka kaas
Pair – perfect with cold smoked chicken or fish in a salad. Goat Cheese or a lovely smooth Simond from Dalewood Fromage.
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