18 July 2017

Review by Herald Live

Excerpt taken from https://www.heraldlive.co.za/

The wine world’s young guns, mavericks and revolutionaries may dominate the chatter about the cutting-edge of South African wine, but at the same time, centuries-old brands are reinventing themselves.

Although its roots date back to the first vines planted there in 1693, Bellingham’s modern-day stature is credited to Bernard Podlashuk, who bought and set about restoring the farm and manor house in 1943 – and became one of the wine mavericks of his time.

With Podlashuk at the helm, Bellingham released the Cape’s first rosé in 1949 and pioneered single-varietal shiraz, releasing the first in 1956. Shiraz remains a key focus today, featuring in both the Homestead range, and in the Bernard Series in the Small Barrel SMV (shiraz-mourvédre-viognier) blend and the single-varietal Basket Press Syrah.

Owners DGB are moving to reinvigorate the Bellingham brand with a focus on the “upper-level” Bernard Series and Homestead Series, and shifting entry-level wines such as the Big Oak Red and others in the “Tree” series over to other DGB brands, says in-house sommelier Kris Snyman.

While the multi-awarded Bernard Series celebrates Podlashuk’s trail-blazing innovative spirit, the Homestead Series draws on Bellingham’s heritage and tradition. The Bernard Series wines, mostly boasting 4.5 Platter’s stars, will set you back upwards of R200, while the Homestead series is positioned more affordably around R70 for four-star quality.

“We focus on regionality and terroir, and look for the best area for each of the four Homestead wines, sourcing mainly from the west coast and Stellenbosch,” Snyman says.

Tasting the wines with Snyman alongside dishes specially prepared for the wine by Gunston’s Gastropub chef Jonathan Gunston, the quality of the wines and their “food friendliness” were showcased.

The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, from the Tygerberg area, “balances the best of Durbanville and Stellenbosch terroir”, with soft fruitiness, crisp minerality and extended lees contact rounding the wine out with a touch of richness.

It was just great with a spicy kingklip dish.

Stellenbosch clay soils give the Chardonnay 2015 a citrusy fruit style, and fermentation in a mix of tanks and old barrels adds a super-smooth mouth texture with lovely rich creaminess that played very nicely with Gunston’s squid-ink pasta and clams.

The 2014 Shiraz is soft and spicy, with juicy fruit and gentle tannins, very drinkable on its own and a great partner to a tender fillet steak with roasted garlic that complemented the spice of the wine.

My favourite of this tasting line-up, the Pinotage, is made in a lighter, cooler style that hints at the grape’s pinot noir roots. Intense, dark red with a fragrant nose of florals, berries and a touch of spice and vanilla, the wine is all cherries and earthy savouriness that played well with a roasted pork belly.

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