Babylonstoren is one of the most scenic places in the Western Cape of South Africa. With the Simonsberg, Du Toitskloof and Franschhoek mountains as its backdrop, the restored Cape Dutch farm dates back to 1692 and is renowned for its magnificent eight-acre garden with pergolas, gravel pathways and water canals – something that’s helped the site become the only Royal Horticultural Society partner garden in Africa. The vineyard’s first wine vintage was celebrated in 2011, with chardonnay forming the base wine. Today, the farm produces a range of varietals including chenin blanc, viognier, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, and mourvèdre – the basis of its summer-ready 2021 rosé.
Babylonstoren is so much more than a vineyard and hotel. The garden is at the heart of the experience: picture vegetable patches, orchards of fruit and nuts, ducks and chickens, a prickly pear maze to wander through, more than 300 varieties of trees and thousands of plant species. There’s also a healing garden, succulent house and spice house, while rose towers covered with fragrant varieties and an aromatic chamomile lawn bloom in early summer – an ideal backdrop for anyone wanting to enjoy a bottle of summer-fresh rosé. Guests are also invited to stay for a meal at one of the destination’s farm-to-fork restaurants, visit the spa or stay over in the chic hotel or family cottages, which are decorated with thick, whitewashed walls, elegant gables and fireplaces for an authentic yet elevated farmhouse experience.
The quintessential summer drink, Babylonstoren’s rosé is harvested by hand in the Cape Winelands in February, at the end of the South African summer. The result is a fuller and rounder taste with a lovely, floral character, reminiscent of fresh spring blooms. Its notes of watermelon and strawberry mean it’s a versatile wine, which pairs especially well with fish such as tuna, trout, salmon, scallops, crab, prawns and sushi, as well as charcuterie, parma ham or a crisp summer salad – making it the perfect choice for long summer suppers.
Intrigued? Babylonstoren’s wine cellar master, Charl Coetzee, tells us more…
The wine is made on Babylonstoren farm, which is situated on the slopes of the Simonsberg mountains between the wine regions of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. To quote the words of our owner Karen Roos – the former editor of Elle Décor and owner of The Newt in Somerset: “Above all, we’d like visitors to ground themselves again. To enjoy the mountains all around as much as we do, pick their own healthy fruit and veg, play pétanque, swim in the farm dam, enjoy an hour in the spa, eat a simple fresh dish at one of the restaurants, walk up the conical Babylonstoren hill, await sunset with a glass of wine in hand, and then slip in between sheets of crisp linen and drift away... more or less.”
Babylonstoren is such a special place because we celebrate the juxtaposition of modern and old, with contemporary detailing offset by historic Cape Dutch architecture. We use skilled people with craftsmanship and passion: our staff are experts in their area, constantly challenging themselves to offer a huge range of experiences. Everything is bespoke and carefully considered to create a luxurious yet understated feel. It’s also a great place for winemaking: South African wines are an intriguing blend of new and old world – bright, vibrant new world fruit, but with old world complexity.
Our rosé is different to others, firstly because it is made from mourvèdre grapes. Rosé made from mourvèdre is normally rounder and fuller bodied than many other rosés, which is the case with ours as well. So, you get a fresh, crisp, easy-drinking wine but there is body and roundness – it just creates the perfect balance. Our rosé is a dry, unwooded, medium-bodied wine with a light pink salmon colour. On the nose, you’ll get strawberries and rose petals, and on the palate expect a hint of watermelon and crushed pomegranate; rounded off with fresh acidity for a delicious, lingering mouthfeel.
Now is the perfect time to drink rosé. Rosé calls to mind flowers, gardens and the outdoors. It has taste, colour, freshness and so much going for it. Its freshness is a promise that warmer days are here again. It suggests a social occasion – think rosé-tinted picnics and BBQs in the great outdoors. It truly is summer and happiness in a glass.
Babylonstren’s eight-acre garden is at the heart of the farm – and The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 is considered the greatest flower show on earth and is a celebration of cutting-edge garden design and fabulous floral displays. Babylonstoren is the only Royal Horticultural Society partner garden in Africa, which makes our wine the perfect partner for the floral-filled annual event, which will be taking place in September this year. A single sip of Babylonstoren’s mourvèdre rosé picks up on floral hints of rose petals and raspberries on the nose, followed by creamy rhubarb and the sweet freshness of watermelon. The sophisticated light salmon colour is reminiscent of the freshest of blooms, so it made sense to become the flower show’s official rosé partner for 2021.