There will be few who were drinking wine in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, who will not have tasted a Bellingham Wine. This grand estate was revitalised after World War 2 when Bernard and Fredagh Podlashuk bought the place in the late 1940s and went about creating a modern wine farm. The old Manor House was restored and the gardens revived by a group of Italian prisoners of war who were experts in building, plaster work and working the lands. A swimming pool, garden trellises were built and the cellar brought back into working order. Fredagh created a beautiful country garden and Bernard set about getting the vineyards up to scratch and with no experience proceeded to make wines which would become nationally known. Bellingham bottled the first estate Shiraz, the Bellingham Almeida Rosé was modelled on the Portuguese Rosés Bernard and Fredagh so enjoyed drinking on their visits to Mozambique, and of course the well-known Premier Grand Cru which was packed in a bottle representing the Groot Drakenstein mountains.
Today, the Bernard Series is bottled as a tribute to this incredible couple. Bernard, for his wines and Fredagh for being the hostess at whose table people longed to sit. The grapes for the Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2015 come from two trellised vineyard blocks which yielded 4 – 8 tons per hectare. The soils in which they are planted are made of decomposed granite, high lying which yield grapes with spicy red berry and plum fruit flavours. There is a small 2% of Viognier grapes which come from low yielding 5-year-old vineyards. Bunches are handpicked and taken to the cellar where bunch and berry selection took place to ensure that only the finest grapes went through to the fermentation process. The grapes were crushed with the Shiraz and the Viognier being co-fermented in 500 litre open French oak barrels. This is followed by the wines special property which is pressing the grapes in a basket press. The wine then goes to French oak barrels for 12 months maturation before being prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled under natural cork in an elegantly labelled Burgundy shaped bottle. In the glass, it is a rich bloodplum red at the core which pales out to ruby at the edges.
It smells like
Red and black berries, grinds of black and white pepper, and oak spice. Some purple flowers and a scrunched up dried fynbos herbaceousness.
It tastes like
Full, from entry with a generosity of fruit perfectly integrated with ripe tannins, the acidity and the clever oaking. A satisfying long and gently waning aftertaste.
It’s good with
This is a classical Sunday Roast Lunch wine. Loves meat in all shapes and forms and will happily go with a fully flavoured vegetarian main course. Alida Ryder’s Mayonnaise Grilled Rosemary Garlic Steak is the answer as the perfect partner to the Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2015. Click here for her recipe.
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