Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2015


Price: R225 (as of June 2017)
Winery: Bellingham Wines
Varietal: Chenin Blanc
Wine Region: 50% Durbanville, 30% Stellenbosch, 20% Paarl.
Country: South Africa


Quality: 18/20
Value: 4/5
Ponce Factor: Higher than a Mexican cliff diver.
Occasion: Does one need an occasion? How about breakfast tomorrow?

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More complex than a Chris Nolan film about time travel.
Nose: Sweet pineapple fruit, a hint of citrus, and lovely savoury leesy complications.
Palate: Full, textured, mouthfeel carries sweet honey-soaked peach fruit, yellow apple, and juicy, ripe citrus acidity. Toasty oak, a bitter almond flourish & some zest on the tail all add glorious complexity.
Cellar: 50% new oak, extended lees contact, with more batonage than a truckload of French riot police.

Gables of plonk to 5 stars on a Platter

For those growing up in the 80s and 90s, Bellingham was synonymous with The Spur, The Dros, and Mike’s Kitchen. It was the Tall-Horse-Tassies-Two-Oceans plonkdog of yesteryear, and no one was going to change that.
Heck, it even came in a bottle shaped like an upsidedown bunch of grapes, and two sold for a tuppence. (I learn now that this chunk of glass was actually a “gabled bottle”, and formed their patriotic nod to Cape Dutch architecture).
But somewhere between now and then, these guys got mind-blowingly world-winningly awesome. You just need to know where to look.
While Bellingham still produce some lighter, cheap ‘n cheerful produce in their Tree Series and Innovation Series wines, the
Bernard Series is Bellingham’s proveribal pudding; proof that they have indeed been putting their 330-odd years of winemaking experience to good use.

A few goodies to look out for:

  • Bellingham’s SMV Rhone blend was recently named in the top 3 Shiraz blends at the Top12 Shiraz SA competition.
  • Their mind-blowing Basket Press Syrah, again well worth the investment, earned its own spot in the SA Top 12 Shiraz listing for 2017.
  • The Berard Series Bush Vine Pinotage was one of only two pinotages to be listed in the SA Top100 wines, and…
  • The Old Vine Chenin Blanc is no stranger to accolades garnering its own rather precious Platter 5-Star tag.

About the Author

Jono Le Feuvre is not a bean counter. He is a bean roaster. Bean roasters carry far more street cred & get to speak at bizarre niche gatherings of enquiring-but-unhinged-minds. They also usually have addictive tendencies. When he is not roasting beans he is pulling corks. Or deftly removing screwcap enclosures. But you can read more about him here.