A first for a South African producer, Bellingham has been announced as one of the winners of the 2014 Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition, as well as a victor at the inaugural Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, respectively. Both competitions took place this month, and this is quite unique that a producer has been awarded these prestigious awards for two distinctly South African varietals in the same year.
The Bernard Series Pinotage 2013 secured a place as one of SA’s Top 10 Pinotages, whilst Bellingham’s Old Orchard Chenin Blanc 2013 made it on to the list of the Top 10 Chenin Blancs in the country.
The man behind these award-winning wines is Bellingham winemaker, Niël Groenewald. After graduating from Stellenbosch with a BSc and working as a wine consultant in Russia, and then embarking on study tours stretching the globe from France to New Zealand and the USA, he applied his knowledge and passion to create some of South Africa’s best wines.
Niël is larger than life by almost all accounts. He is a big man and this stature is rivalled only by his intuitive passion for his craft as the Bellingham’s Winemaker since 2004. His stringent detailed winemaking is tangible in the innovation and stylistic spectrum of his multi-award winning wines under The Bernard Series label. With an Honours degree in Oenology from Stellenbosch University and recently an Executive MBA from UCT Graduate school of Business, Niël could be called the ‘brains behind the bottle’. Niël makes a big impression all over the world with his engaging warmth, obvious passion and natural ability to educate and excite customers and consumers not only aboutBellingham but South African wine in general.
The Bernard Series Pinotage 2013 is one of four Red wines within the range created to pay tribute to the determination and maverick spirit of the founder of Bellingham, Bernard Podlashuk. This internationally awarded boutique wine series is thoroughly contemporary, elaborately intricate and unusual in some aspects, with a compelling individualistic, sometimes irreverent but always fascinating character.
Niël describes the 100% Pinotage as displaying liberal black cherry, ripe mulberry and raspberry confit aromas. These aromas deliver a mouthful of plum pudding, smoked meat flavours and savoury hints of truffle combine with hints of violet and winter spice oak. The result is a long, succulently fruited finish. This award-winning wine is available from select specialist wine stores nationwide and retails for approximately R170.00 per bottle.
Chenin Blanc is regarded as South Africa’s most widely planted grape, and one, which has a special place in Niël’s,heart, particulary older vineyards of bush vine Chenin . This diverse grape varietal has gained international recognition for the rich, textured and complex wines that it produces in South Africa.
The uniquely styled Old Orchard Chenin Blanc 2013 is exported mostly to Scandinavia and is best described as showcasing beautiful aromas of honeysuckle, citrus, lime and spice. The grapes were sourced from 100% bush vines grown in the Agter – Paarl area. The vines were planted in weathered granite soils, bearing low yields of seven tons per hectare, and harvesting commenced at 23.5 degrees Balling. The majority of the wine was matured in second fill French oak barrels adding complexity to the wine and mouthfeel. Full-bodied, rich and round with a lingering aftertaste.
Although not available to purchase from outlets in South Africa consumers can purchase this award-winning wine at R95.00 directly from the Bellingham Tasting Room in Franschhoek.