Named after Bellingham’s founder Bernard Podlashuk, The Bernard Series represents the pinnacle of winemaking achievement at Bellingham. Celebrated as a trail-blazing visionary, Bernard’s tenacity and courage established the winery’s stellar reputation and helped shape the South African wine industry we know and love today.
Bernard was a Royal Air Force veteran who spent his formative years in England but had Polish roots. After getting injured in the Second World War, he and his wife Fredagh embarked on a new adventure in the Cape Winelands when they bought the Bellingham farm in 1943, which had been lying fallow for 20 years at the time. With the help of 13 Italian POW’s, they cultivated the land to vines and set about building the iconic Bellingham brand. The Cape’s first rosé was released under the Bellingham label in 1949, followed in quick succession by the Premier Grand Cru in 1951 and the first single varietal Shiraz in 1956.
Today, The Bernard Series still draws inspiration from its namesake’s legacy of innovation, with contemporary, individualistic wines that exemplify winemaking skill and an unmistakable sense of place. Here’s a look at some of the most sought-after wines in the range:
The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage
This sensual rendition of South Africa’s best-known indigenous variety originates from predominantly unirrigated old bush vines. This yields liberal black cherry, ripe mulberry and raspberry confit fruit concentration brushed with floral notes and enhanced by maturation in French oak for 18 months.
The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah
This wine celebrates Bernard’s proud legacy as the first winemaker to release a single-varietal Shiraz in the Cape. Grapes are hand harvested from selected low-yielding vineyards, fermented and crushed in a small-batch basket press to preserve the natural dark berry fruit tinged with subtle floral suggestions and black and white pepper spice.
The Bernard Series Small Barrel SMV
The grapes for this blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Viognier are sourced from 3 prime vineyards and hand harvested, gently crushed and fermented before maturation in small French oak barrels. The wine shows a mosaic of black and red berry aromas layered with dark chocolate, winter spice, rose and violet facets following through to an intensely fruited palate that is both powerful yet graceful.
The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc
This unique and award-winning barrel-matured Chenin Blanc is made from characterful cool climate bush-vine fruit. In true Bernard nature, these vineyards were discovered and earmarked only for the best. Distinctively bold and lavishly perfumed with intriguing layers of tropical fruit, peaches and cream perfectly completed by seamlessly integrated vanilla oak spice.
The Bernard Series Whole Bunch Roussanne
Hand-harvested grapes are pressed in whole bunches to preserve the fascinating wild Cape flower and herbal tea aromas embellished by soft kiwi, tropical pineapple and peach kernel vivacity. This unoaked yet full-bodied wine is perfect for gastronomy with power and weight to add complexity to a wide variety of flavours and textures.
Taste and purchase these and other fine Bellingham wines at our tasting lounge at Franschhoek Cellar.
Book a tasting here: http://bellinghamwines.com/contact/