Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bellingham Homestead wines launched at Bellingham homestead

Bellingham Estate in Franschhoek was founded in 1693 but made famous by vintner Bernard (Pod) Podlashuk who bought the farm in 1943. With his iconic wines like Johannisberger in its classic green bottle shaped like the Klein Drakenstein peak behind the farm and the first dry Rosé, Premier Grand Cru and Shiraz in South Africa he made history and positive change to a stagnant industry. These wines were breaking new ground in the South African wine industry in the 1950s. His wife Fredagh remodelled the homestead into an extraordinary house filled with precious antiques and oddities, art and artefacts, dust gatherers and valuable objet d'art. We were invited this week to come and taste the new range of Homestead wines with lunch and to tour the house. It was quite an occasion.
The historic homestead, now run by curators
Niël Groenewald, winemaker and Brand Manager for DGB handing out a name badge to Maryna Strachan
The weather was a little iffy so they had the lunch long table under a marquee
Boschendal cellar master JC Bekker, Journalist Neil Pendock and PRO/Journalist Emile Joubert
Some of the friendly serving staff with the welcome drinks
Lynne with old friend, Group winemaker at Boschendal, JC Bekker. We studied together for the Cape Wine Academy diploma, many years ago
Journalist Greg Landman of Country Life chatting to the curators of the Homestead with their spaniels
Niël tells us it's time to taste the wines
The line up: L to R Sauvignon Blanc; Chardonnay; Pinotage; Shiraz. In front of each glass was a dish of the new range of Bellingham's Salts of the Earth, matched to the wines. The Lemon and Fennel rub is a very good match. The chardonnay has very ripe golden apples and plums on the nose, with lees. It has a lovely fruit acid balance on the palate; it is silky and creamy, satisfying and quaffable. The Dukkah rub is a lovely Moroccan style, the coriander and cumin do intrude a bit on the wine. The Pinotage has juicy fruit, sharp cherries, some stony tannins with a slight bitterness on the end. The Spicy rub with the rosemary and elderflowers was a lovely match. The shiraz from Paarl has a spicy fruity attractive nose black and white pepper and minerality. Soft juicy fruit and soft tannins with lingering raspberry cordial and red cherry juice. The smoked Rooibos paprika did not have the medicinal note rooibos usually imparts and is a great rub for meats and chicken. We think the wines are going to sell very well, as should the rubs.
These are the labels. Some are salts and some are rubs. There is also a honey butter to go with dessert. The five come in a presentation box.
The wine bottles with the new labels. The range is expected to retail at R65 for the whites and R75 for the reds. The Sauvignon blanc has a herbal nose with notes of fennel and seaweed; it is crisp and very dry, with green fruit and minerality.
The media texting, tweeting, tasting and discussing the wines.
Beautiful flowers on the table and a tribute to Pod Podlashuk
The powers behind the scene: Carla Malherbe, General Manager Hospitality Division at DGB (Pty) Ltd and Marguerite Nel, Digital Marketing Coordinator at DGB
Now there was a chance to view the inside of the Homestead before lunch was served. This is the master bedroom, very Hollywood
Food writer Benika Palfi tries out the sunken rock pool bath
The grand Salon with this beautiful antiques and comfortable furniture and collections of coloured glass in bell shaped niches
A Bellingham 2014 Pinotage with the iconic Bellingham Johannisberger bottle
The music room
The dining room
That is quite an archway! Especially for an old manor house
Just resting
Another bedroom
A turquoise blue bathroom
A sitting room with lots of collections: Buddhas, ostrich eggs, ornaments
Back to the band who played jazz, Latin and popular tunes for dancing, but we were seated. Great for weddings and celebrations
The chefs ready to serve lunch.
And we were off. It was a typical country lunch - lots and lots of meat, fish, rice, sweet potatoes, chips, beans and pumpkin fritters. 'n bord kos (a huge plate of food). Never forget that in the farmlands in South Africa chicken is a vegetable and they enjoy their food. There was a small salad
The menu
The perfectly cooked fire grilled fillet steak, so well flavoured with the Smoked Rooibos and paprika rub
Chicken in Lemon and Herbs
Sweet pumpkin fritters sprinkled with cinnamon were great but were a little singed on the bottom. And chips...
Cauliflower and broccoli stacks with a cheese sauce and in the front huge slices of tender salmon with the lemon and Fennel salt rub.
Lots and lots of roast lamb, marinated in the Rosemary and Elderflower salt rub
It came with a rich dark gravy. Here are the dishes of rice, the sweet potatoes, and a Béarnaise sauce for the steak
Jacques Roux of DGB told us about Bellingham and the wines
One of the many beautiful flower arrangements on the table
The Bellingham leather bound cookbook which we all received as a gift. Lynne has used one of these, Niël's Bobotie, as this week's recipe as a tribute
The Bellingham team, Carla Malherbe, Marguerite Nel and Niël Groenewald
Dessert was a poppy seed cake with a vanilla cream cheese frosting ...
... and meringue nests filled with lemon curd and berries. The curd had been made with the honey butter from the rub box
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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