Bellingham Fair Maiden 2008
By Christian Eedes, 11 February 2011
This wine is an exotic blend of Chenin Blanc, Roussane, Verdelho, Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier, and given high ratings on release back in 2009, I had high expectations of it when opening it last night. Sadly, I found it rather flat and dull, the whole very much less than the sum of the parts.
The category of white blends has produced some of the most exciting wines to emerge from South Africa in recent times, but there’s a sense that when it comes to overall quality, the sub-group of wines made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are starting to pull away from those that see Chenin Blanc combined with Rhône varieties. I suspect that the core issue here is that the former are generally made reductively and the latter oxidatively, an oxidative approach only being successful in the deftest of hands.