Madeleine and I were fortunate to know Bernard and Fredagh Podlashuk and to visit Bellingham for dinner when we lived at Boschendal. Bernard was a man of great energy and ingenuity in the cellar and gave birth to some truly great wines. His Bellingham Shiraz, the Almeida Rosé and the Premier Grand Cru were amongst his pioneering products. He invented a piece of equipment in the cellar which had all his peers at the time giggling behind their hands and Pod’s Folly, as it became known was later recognised as an something to be recognised. The Bernard Series is named after Bernard Podlashuk, visionary co-founder of the Bellingham brand and maverick winemaker.
James Gower, Brand Manager for Bellingham Wines, says “At Bellingham, we have the benefit of exceptionally talented winemakers, and one of the secrets to the soft approachable flavours of Bellingham’s Pinotage is the winemaking process. So while the fermentation is progressing we work very gently with the grapes, but over three days, right when the fermentation is peaking, we work the fermentation must much more intensely. Pump overs are done every three hours, 24 hours a day. The must is much more forgiving in this short period, leading to the soft juicy dark fruits.”
The grapes for the Bellingham The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage 2017 come from a prized 43-year-old bush vine block in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. The vines are planted in weathered granite soils which with careful vineyard management produces small yields. The best bunches were hand selected in the vineyard; this was followed by a second berry selection once in the cellar. The grapes were fermented in open French oak barrels with daily punch-downs. After malolactic fermentation in barrels, 50% of the wine was matured in new French oak and 50% in second fill barrels for a period of 12 months. The wine was then prepared for bottling.
From a Burgundy Shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is classic Bernard Series, minimalist, telling the story. In the glass, the wine is a deep bloodplum at the heart, and pales out to a translucent purple washed ruby. The aromas are all about berries, red and black, cherries, mulberries and roadside brambles. The wine is accessible and from entry has a golden thread of acidity running through the generous mid palate to a long a gently waning aftertaste in which charcuterie, oak and its concomitant spices and a touch of dark fruit cake are perfectly and harmoniously balanced. This wine has all the attributes of one, which if cool cellared to go the course for another 8 to 10 years.
A perfect supper as a post prandial wine. It is a food wine and being a South African created grape, it is no surprise that it goes well with traditional South African dishes, like a good piece of braaied spicy boerewors, a tomato bredie or a roast shoulder of Karoo Lamb. Nina Timm can always be relied upon to provide a suitable dish, within budget on her myeasycooking website. Well worth a visit. Nina Timm’s Lip-smacking Lamb Ribs is the perfect partner to the Bellingham The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage 2017. Click HERE for her recipe.
Nina Timm of myeasycooking
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