Bellingham is blessed in several ways. It is perfectly situated as a wine farm. It was bought at the end of World War 2 by Bernard Podlashuk and his wife Fredagh when he was invalided out of The Royal Air Force. They were real pioneers, Bernard replanted the vineyards, restored the old cellar and Fredagh set about dollying up the Manor House, both with the help of Italian Prisoners of War. Today the Manor House is a museum them both.
Bernard, having no training in wine making, went about producing not only the first estate bottled Shiraz in South Africa, he bottled the first Rosé, which he called Almeida Rosé. They had a property in Mozambique so things Portuguese were part of their lives. Then came the Bellingham Premier Grand Cru, Bernard’s nod to central France. He was quite progressive in the cellar and invented and had made a tank for free run juice which his contemporaries called Pod’s Folly – but of course it worked.
Further blessing is the amazingly talented Cellarmaster Niël Groenewald, responsible for the range of Bellingham Wines.
Part of this range is Bellingham’s The Bernard Series, a limited number of wines, usually from older vineyards on the Western Cape, shy bearing, planted on perfectly matched soils.
The Bellingham The Bernard Series Small Barrel SMV 2014 recently was given an award at South Africa’s Top 12 Shiraz Competition. The grapes for this wine all came from the Paarl Wine Appellation in a final blend of 87% Shiraz, 10% Mourvèdre and 3% Viognier. I am always amazed at the effect even the smallest part of Viognier makes such a difference. Such is the talent of the winemaker.
Hand harvested, the bunches are selected to ensure only the finest bunches go through to the cellar, where the bunches are destalked and then the berries are sorted so that only the best go through. The grapes were co fermented with natural vineyard yeasts. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels and there was a period of 14 months of maturation before the wine was prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled in a Burgundy shape bottle under a natural cork closure. The livery is elegant and descriptive. In the glass, it is deep bloodplum at the core which pales out to ruby garnet purple at the rim.
It smells like
Berries, red and black, cherries, dark chocolate, fruit cake spices.
It tastes like
All the above – a lovely fruited palate. Whiffs of violet. Dark chocolate, oak and its concomitant spices. Full bright fruit in the mid palate with an ending that has the gentle tannins, acidity, fruit, acidity all perfectly interwoven.
It’s good with
This is the ultimate food wine. Perfect with lamb, beef, roast belly of pork and an array of full flavoured vegetarian dishes. So many of our friends are off hunting for the pot at this time of the year, so a venison pie is a good choice. Nellie Jooste, Ina Paarman’s mother, created the perfect Venison Pie. Ina, of course, has woven her own charm into the recipe, click here for the recipe.
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