While the land on which Bellingham today stands was first granted in the early days of the settlement of the colony, and its name may have been Bellingchamps ‘beautiful fields’, it was not until the middle of the 20th century that Bellingham took a giant leap and became a fixture in the Cape Wine Industry. Bernard and Fredagh Podlashuk bought the estate when Bernard had to leave the armed forces due to ill health during WW2. Knowing nothing about winemaking, Bernard took to it like a demon, he created wines which were the talk of the town, the first estate bottled Shiraz, the Bellingham Almeida Rosé and the truly famous Bellingham Premier Grand Cru. Fredagh restored the house and the gardens with the help of a group of Italian prisoners of war, many of whom were sent here during the war. Many of them were craftsmen in wood, stonecutting, cement work and general construction work. To honour this picturesque with its immaculate gardens, Bellingham Wines have created The Homestead Series and my wine of the day today is the Bellingham Homestead Series The Old Orchards Chenin Blanc 2017.
Chenin Blanc could well be regarded as a true South African White Grape with our plantings 6 times larger than those of France in the Loire Valley. The grapes for the Bellingham Homestead Series The Old Orchards Chenin Blanc 2017 came from 25 year old bushvines in the Voor Paardeberg which is well known for its weathered Shale and distinctive granite outcrop. It is ideal for dry land farming even though the Paarl Wine Appellation has long, warm summers similar to the Mediterranean climate. Though it is ideal for ripening varieties such as Shiraz and Chenin Blanc. 2017 vintage is one of the best Richard Duckitt, the Bellingham Cellar Master has worked so far. “Everything worked in our favour,” he says. “I rate it higher than 2015, possibly even as good as 2009. Certainly the wines are a lot more accessible earlier than we’ve had for a long time.”
Grapes for the Bellingham Homestead Series The Old Orchards Chenin Blanc 2017 were handpicked in middle of February from the 25-year-old dryland bush vines. Once in the cellar, the grapes were whole bunch pressed. The juice was then allow to cold settle and then taken clear as possible and fermented with natural vineyard yeasts in 2nd and 3rd fill French oak barrels. The wine was matured for 7 months in these barrels after which it was prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled under screw cap in a Burgundy shaped bottle with an elegant label depicting the Bellingham House. In the glass, it is a pale golden straw with youthful lime green flashes.
It smells like
A real homage to Chenin. Tropical fruit, ripe guavas, white flowers and fynbos honey. Undertow of judiciously applied oak and its concomitant spices.
It tastes like
Ripe fleshed stone fruit like white peaches. Tropical lime preserve and Granny Smith apples and a good whack of citrus to keep the plate fresh.
It’s good with
Chenin is the ultimate wine by the glass for me. I damn it not with faint praise by calling it easy drinking, it is. I always think that Chenin is great with chicken. I goes really well with oriental foods like ceviche, sashimi and a gentle Kerala Vegetable Curry. Crumbed Calamari and fish cakes love it as well. Carey Boucher Erasmus’s Sticky Soy Honey & Sriracha Chicken Wings are a lovely match.
Click here for her recipe
Click here to watch her You Tube Clip which shows her making them.
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