Having known the maverick winemaker Bernard Podlashuk and his talented wife Fredagh in the 1980s. I have a soft spot for the homestead they restored and so admire what they did to make Bellingham the well-known producer of legendary wines, the first estate bottled Shiraz and his famous Premier Grand Cru which everybody in the industry was trying to copy in the pre Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay day. Having built a deep bed of laurels for the future, Bernard handed over to a new Bellingham, which under the care of Richard Duckitt is forging ahead, making some truly superb wines, The Bernard Series.
This week, looking ahead to Pinotage Day on October 13th, we celebrate The Bernard Series The Bush Vine Pinotage 2016. The grapes come from a single block of dry land bush vines, over 20 years old. The soils are decomposed granite and the yields are low.
After harvesting, where bunches were selected in the vineyard, berry selection took place and the fermentation proceeded in open top French oak fermenters. Punch downs of the cap of skins took place three times a day. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was matured in half new French oak barrels and half second fill for a year. After this the wine was prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled under natural cork in a Burgundy shaped bottle with a truly elegant label. In the glass, it is a deep bloodplum at the core which pales out to a purple garnet at the edges.
It smells like
I love the red berry smells which come from the Pinot Noir parents. Bright red cherries, raspberry preserve and roadside brambles. Oak and its sweet spices in undertow.
It tastes like
The Bernard Series The Bush Vine Pinotage 2016 has a truly generous mouthful from entry to tail. The berries are present as a spicy bake of almond pastry. There is a touch of charcuterie, purple flowers and a gentle whisper of forest floor. Cashmere clad tannins interweave with the fruit, the acidity and the oak at the end. Really delicious wine made to last for perhaps up to ten years from harvest.
It’s good with
Pinotage like this is a serious sipper, as a post prandial wine with some snappy dark chocolate. From a food matching perspective, it is a very versatile wine. As a South African, The Bernard Series The Bush Vine Pinotage 2016 loves spicy South African foods. Ina Paarman’s Game Sausage and Blue Cheese Polenta is a good riff on the local favourite of Pap and Wors! Click here for her recipe.
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