Babylonstoren Babel 2015
Babylonstoren Babel red wine from South Africa.
Dry red wine. Babylonstoren's Babel is an inspiring take on a Bordeaux-style blend. Sweet tobacco aromas followed by a fusion of red berries and chocolate flavours on the palate. 75cl
Full bodied Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec blend from Simonsberg, South Africa. 14.0% ABV. Suitable for Vegetarians.
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Babylonstoren Farm has 72 hectares of vines producing 13 different grape varieties, with the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay plantings as high as 600 metres above sea level. The 17th century Babylonstoren Farm estate is situated near Simonsberg in South Africa. Alongside the vines are Babylonstoren's 5-star hotel, spa, large farm (that - amongst other things - produces gorgeous olive oils), and the Babel restaurant.
Babylonstoren's vines were first planted by the Louw family who lived and owned the farm for four generations. Further plantings were made in 2008 and 2009 by viticulturist Hannes Aucamp.
The modern cellar, designed by architect Gerard de Villiers, is overseen by cellarmaster Charl Coetzee. Charl explains that at Babylonstoren "there is no compromise for quality, and attention to detail is everything." Winemaker Klaas Stoffberg works with Charl to produce Babylonstoren's wines, which have been released annually since 2011.[/tab] [tab title="Grapes"]
Babylonstoren Farm Babel's Grapes
Shiraz, widely known as Syrah in the Old World, is one of the most fashionable and oldest grape varieties in the world. It is the world's sixth most planted grape variety (as of 2010) and originates from southeast France. It famously makes up the Hermitage blend, arguably the Rhone's most famous style of wine. It is mostly planted in France, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and California. While wines labelled Syrah tend to be more savoury, wines labelled Shiraz are spicier and jammier as they are often grown in warmer climates.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most well-known and most-planted grape variety in the world. Thanks to Robert Parker and other Bordeaux enthusiasts, plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon have more than doubled since 1990 to nearly 300,000 hectares in 2010. Its parents are Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Today it is called an "international variety" as you will find it planted all over the world. The grape's high ratio of pip to pulp and thick skins contribute high levels of tannin, which adds structure and improves the ageability of red wines.
Merlot is the second-most planted grape variety in the world. It is an "international variety" you will find all over the globe but is most famously grown in Bordeaux, Chile and California. Merlot is an off-spring of Cabernet Franc and a French variety called Magdeleine Noire des Charentes. Merlot can contribute exceptional tannins to red wine but tends to be softer and fruitier than Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cabernet Franc is an overlooked French variety, known to be the direct parent of Cabernet Sauvignon and an ancestor of Merlot. It is suited to cooler, more continental climates and ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon. Its most legendary style is in the wine Cheval Blanc, showcasing Cabernet Franc's ability to age and develop exceptional character. Outside of France, Cabernet Franc is grown in Italy and taken extremely seriously in Hungary, especially in the southern region of Villany where Cabernet Franc thrives.
Unusually, Petit Verdot ripens later than Cabernet Sauvignon, which can make it a difficult grape variety to grow. It requires warmer vintages to ripen fully and is often blended into wines, particularly with Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines made with Petit Verdot are full, tannic and rich in colour.
Malbec, a French grape variety, is today most famously known for its varietal red wines in Argentina. It has disadvantages in a cooler climate, so Malbec is better suited to warmer areas. Compared with Merlot, Malbec can taste of more "rustic" savoury fruit.[/tab] [tab title="Serving Suggestion"]
Food & Wine Matching
Try the Babel Red with charred bell peppers, stuffed with roasted Mediterranean veg and feta cheese.
Other serving suggestions include:
- Red meat, particularly roasted top-side beef.
- Steak stew seasoned with clove and black pepper.
- Cheesy moussaka.
Accolades for Babylonstoren Farm Babel
- Silver, Decanter World Wine Awards 2017
- Silver, IWC 2017.
- Silver, Tastings.com (89pts)
Simonsberg, South Africa
Simonsberg is a ward in the Western Cape of South Africa, situated between the regions of Paarl and Stellenbosch. The ward is named after and located on the prime foothills of the Simonsberg mountains, found to the south of Paarl, which meet the mountains and valleys of Groot Drakenstein and Franschhoek.
Winemaking in Paarl, to the north, is a coastal area growing more mountainous as you move in-land. It has a particularly warm growing season, usually demanding irrigation before harvest. However, on most of the east-facing aspect vineyards irrigation is often not needed at all due to the excellent water retention of these plots.
Stellenbosch, in comparison, is a smaller but intensively farmed wine of origin (W.O.) district. It's divided up into smaller viticultural areas, including the Simonsberg-Stellenbosch region, and is home to over 170 estates and producers. Stellenbosch is also where you will find South Africa's educational and research centre and Stellenbosch University, the only higher education University in South Africa offering degrees in viticulture and oenology.[/tab] [/tabs]