04 Oct 90+ for Bellingham: Tim Atkin, MW highlights the cellar team’s laser focus on quality
The annual, much anticipated, 2018 South Africa Special Report, which details the observations and impressions of SA wine by British Master of Wine (MW) Tim Atkin, was released at Cape Wine 2018 today. With over 1 700 local wines tasted by this internationally renowned taster, Bellingham Wines is proud to announce that seven of its wines received scores of 90-points or more – termed “Medals of Excellence.”
At the top end of the spectrum, at 93/100, is Bellingham The Bernard Series Grenache Blanc 2017.
Described by Atkin as a “gently oaked white [with] tangy grapefruit notes and some stone fruit sweetness, framed by older wood” and illustrates Bellingham’s talent for working with grapes suited to South Africa’s more Mediterranean climate, as noted by Atkin: “Grenache Blanc is such a wonderful grape – and so obviously suited to the heat of the Cape – that you wonder why there aren’t more stand-alone bottlings of it.”
A focused and determined approach drives the cellar team at Bellingham, and for Cellarmaster, Richard Duckitt, Atkin’s review of their wines indicates that his team’s laser focus on key varieties is paying off. “Bellingham has always done well with Rhône varieties as well as our very own local grape Pinotage, with the right terroirs and winemaking approach, and we recognise this as a strength of the brand and an area where we have built exceptional trust in the consumer market,” says Duckitt.
Adding weight to this claim are the other highly-rated Bellingham wines in Tim Atkin’s yearly report:
Described as a “textbook Chenin” with “pastry, citrus, creamy lees and subtle oak” on the palate, Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2017 impressed Atkin and was scored 92/100.
Bellingham The Bernard Series Whole Bunch Roussanne 2018, one of the few single-variety bottlings of Roussanne in SA, was also scored 92/100 by Atkin, who praised the producer for being among South Africa’s first wave of Roussanne producers, who “still creates one of the best examples of the variety”. Bellingham The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage 2016 received a similar rating, a classically styled wine which Atkin referred to as “one of the highlights of the Bellingham range”.
The Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2015 was rated 91/100.
Adding to the cellar’s reputation for producing top quality wines across all its labels, Bellingham’s terroir-focused series, The Homestead Range, received a 90/100 score for the Bellingham The Homestead Series Pinotage 2017, a score matched by Bellingham The Bernard Series Small Barrel SMV 2015.
In his report, Atkin said that he was extremely impressed with the quality of wines he tasted in 2018: “Why do I put in the long hours? The answer is because the wines, the places and especially the people inspire me. There’s something happening in South Africa that is unique in the wine world. Cal it energy, call it creativity, call it optimism, call it all three. But it’s apparent to anyone who visits the Cape.”
Bellingham’s award-winning wines can now be bought online via its virtual cellar, straight from its cellar where it has been stored in immaculate conditions to maintain their quality.
The report costs R395 and is available for download here