Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2015, with Dianne Bibby’s Butternut Tikka Masala Curry – 02.10.2017

Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2015

The Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2015 is a tribute to Bellingham’s Founder Bernard Podlashuk. He and his wife Fredagh bought Bellingham at the end of World War 2 after Bernard was boarded from the armed forces. With a team of Italian Prisoners of War, the Podlashuks restored the Manor House, and the old cellar. And a Phoenix rose from the dereliction of buildings and vineyards.

The Pods with their team of Italian Prisoners of War

Bernard with no winemaking experience, was a trail-blazing visionary whose maverick approach and bold risks helped shape the course of South African wine. This wine is new-world contemporary, yet still classically styled with a compelling character typical of its origins that is a fitting tribute to Pod, the first winemaker to release a single variety Shiraz in South Africa under his Bellingham label. His Bellingham Almeida Rosé and Premier Grand Cru are the stuff of which legends are made.

Niël Groenewald with grapes in an open fermenter

Now wearing the Bellingham mantle, Niël Groenewald is producing some serious Syrah, The Bernard Series and also the Bellingham Homestead Series Shiraz.

Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2015 grapes were hand-picked from two vineyard blocks yielding an even-handed 4 to 8 tons per hectare individually. The trellised vines grow on deep well-drained soils of decomposed granite covered shale. There is also 2% Viognier component hand-picked from a low yielding five-year-old vineyard. Once in the cellar the Syrah grapes were bunch and berry sorted before being destalked and crushed.  The same with the viognier and the two grapes were fermented together using vineyard yeasts in 500 litre open top French barrels. The berries were then pressed in an old-fashioned basket press, The young wine was returned to French oak barrels where malolactic fermentation was completed and a further 12 months maturation took place.

De Grendel ShirazShiraz grapes on the vine

It looks like
Bottled under a natural cork closure in a Burgundy shaped bottle with the elegant Bernard Series livery. In the glass, it is deeply plum coloured at the core which paled out to ruby garnet at the edges.

It smells like
Blackberries, black cherries, mulberries, Chocolate.

It tastes like
The aromas are all repeated in the juicy palate. Dark Chocolate. Fynbos herbs. Silken tannins which promise to weave themselves with the bright fruit and allow for at least a 10-year bottle maturation.

Dianne Bibby’s Butternut Tikka Masala Curry

It’s good with
A serious after dinner sipper for times of philosophical conversation. I can’t think of a meat or vegetarian dish with which it will not partner well. Dianne Bibby’s Butternut Tikka Masala Curry, with its gentle spiciness will embrace this wine. Click here for her recipe.

Dianne Bibby, in a quiet moment

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