The vineyards of Babylonstoren are nestled in slopes of Simon’s Mountain, just north of Stellenbosch between Paarl and Franschhoek. The name dates back to a time when a large hill on the property became a routine meeting spot for the diverse local population. It became referred to as “The Tower of Babel” due to the converging of the many languages spoken in the area. The farm is owned by former magazine editor Karen Roos. The first vintage was in 2011. The cellar master is Charl Coetzee (formerly of Kaapzicht and Clos Malverne) and the winemaker is Klaas Stoffberg (formerly of Ernie Els Wines).
The farm grows many varietals, including chenin blanc, viognier, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, merlot, and petit verdot. Chardonnay and pinot noir grow in the highest site on the property, over 600 meters (1,968 feet) above sea level. Standing on Simon’s Mountain, looking over these vineyards, you can see Table Mountain to your west on a clear day. The shale and granite soils are not the only things contributing to Babylonstoren’s unique terroir. The farm boasts a large garden and is surrounded by various types of agriculture, fruit, lavender, herbs, and fynbos, all of which give Babylonstoren’s wines a strong sense of place. The estate’s two restaurants and hotel take full advantage of all the farm has to offer, with “farm to table” taking on a literal, meaningful sense.
Wines are created in the high-tech cellar, with pressing and stainless steel aging occuring at ground level. Wines that will require oak aging are pumped below ground to the cellar. Cellarmaster Charl Coetzee and winemaker Klaas Stoffberg both have extensive experience producing wine both abroad and at home in South Africa. They work together to ensure that wines are as simple and pure as possible, striving for “Truth to the area we are situated in on the slopes of Simonsberg, and simplicity by making elegant and balanced wines as natural as possible.”
42% Shiraz, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot
Grown in a combination of Klapmuts/Longlands type soils of Malmesbury shale origin as well as Oakleaf and Hutton type soils of Cape granite origin. Varietals are harvested and made separately. Fermentation take place on the skins for about seven days then goes through an extended maceration period of about one week. Next, the wine ages in 50% new and 50% 2nd & 3rd fill 300 litre French oak barrels and undergoes malolactic fermentation. The wine is then racked and returned to the barrels for 12 months.
Pencil shavings, sweet tobacco, liquorice, and dark cherry chocolate on the nose. Red cherry and chocolate on the palette, a chewy mouthfeel and a long finish.
A rack of lamb or a good piece of beef. Perfect with barbeque, (“braai”) or a holiday feast.
Drink 1-2 years after vintage. Age up to 5 years.
Simonsberg-Paarl and Franschhoek Valley
Grown in Klapmuts/Longlands type soils of Malmesbury shale origin. Grapes were given 2 hours skin contact in the press, then cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks for three weeks. After, the wine was racked of primary lees and kept on thin lees for three months before bottling.
Strawberries and rose petals on the nose, strawberry yogurt on the palate with a fresh acidity for a delicious, lingering mouth-feel.
Try trout, salmon, sushi, charcuterie and salads.
Drink within 18 months of the vintage.