Hello wine-lovers! Your favourite reluctant blogger has located enough time to park herself in front of a keyboard and share some of the really incredible wines the #beccaswineswap folks have been up to. Each time I host an event, I get asked which one has been the most memorable, and I never have an answer. This is mostly because each one is characterised by a different humans with different energy. The only consistent thing is of course, the high quality wine we get to taste and enjoy. Bellevue Wine Estate came all the way through and we had a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Bellevue Wine Estate is located in Stellenbosch, prime wine farm land in the western Cape. The Estate has an original Cape Dutch homestead that was built in 1803. The house was restored in 1993, after which, it was declared a National Monument. The estate cultivates approximately 152ha of vineyards on a variety of sites, allowing a wide selection of vines from which to create the exquisite wines that Bellevue has come to be known for. We were taken through the wine tasting by Bellevue’s winemaker, Wilhelm Kritzinger.

I truly believe that there are three fundamental ingredients that make a good wine experience; the wine (of course), the people and the stories. Without the stories, all we’re doing is drinking, and while that is incredibly fun on it’s own, the stories make the memories that make sure we never forget how the wine made us feel. Wilhelm , the winemaker extraordinaire at Bellevue, is a wonderfully animated storyteller. I can’t that him enough for guiding us through our tasting with the evident love he has for his craft as well as the genuine appreciation of sharing what he knows with wine lovers. Other than an illustrious wine making career, he is an experienced hunter and believe it or not, started out as a microbiologist. I think what his story does is illustrate how complex the human experience is, and that we are capable of being more than one thing yet the world often wants a one-dimensional individual to package and present.

We started with the lightly oaked 2019 chenin blanc. Still quite acidic and fresh, even with the time spent in a barrel, giving it a gentle smoothness. This was followed by the Reserve Collection 2018 chardonnay. We were quite fortunate to be able to taste this gem as it was technically sold out. (Yay for wins!) This has some subtle citrus notes, oak fermented and matured with a beautiful finish.

The next taste was the 2017 cinsaut (which I like to nickname “the poor man’s pinot noir”). On this day though, I was converted and will henceforth, be giving all cinsaut the respect it is due. A lovely summer red wine with some raspberry and strawberry on the palate.

The 2018 shiraz has to be one of the most exciting things I tasted at Bellevue. With the traditional wood and spice, rounded off by this uncanny taste of bacon!! And I LOVE me some bacon.

We then went through a wine lesson regarding the origin of the Argentinian favourite, malbec. Contrary to popular belief, the malbec varietal finds its origin in France. I thoroughly enjoyed dark fruit, soft tannins and the adaptation to South African sol, exhibited in the slight fynbos flavour.

Finally we got to the stuff that has put Bellevue on the map – their excellent pinotage. FYI, Bellevue is the farm that that planted and grew the first registered pinotage in history, in 1953. The Reserve Collection 2016 pinotage showed off exactly why pinotage is their thing and the South African darling. a slight sweetness with plums and maraschino cherries on the nose, aged in both French and American barrels, she is silky smooth.

Bellevue is an aesthetically pleasing wine estate with attentive staff who really know how to showcase the classic, award winning wines that are produced by the estate. The tasting room allows for a wine and pizza pairing -wood fired, quality stuff. And not only do they do pizza, a fully operational restaurant allows for enjoyment of food and wine on the pretty verandah. Like most wine estates, you can book Bellevue for your special events too. In fact on the day, we witnessed a bright yellow baby shower and a rustic 60th birthday celebration. No matter what you decide, you’ll be in capable hands.

Thank you to all that continue to support #beccaswineswap and to the team at Bellevue for another fantastic edition! Don’t forget to show us some love on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

Love and wine,

The Empress

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