Let me start of by saying I owe Babylonstoren and their team an apology-as much as I didn’t have high hopes or high regards of the farm, thinking it was albeit passé and a bit of a “tourist trap”. My visit this weekend, proved just how breath taking, captivating and photogenic this produce and wine estate really is.
The new, taste space-tasting room, is situated in the vines in a conservatory styled alfresco environment an excellent way to boast their gardens and mountainous surrounding.
On arrival I found a bustling( a babel if you will) venue with so many hipster stylized millennials I felt Cochella had moved to Franschhoek. Needless to stay my expectations were, well blasé and the lack of a greeting and service in the tasting room just added to my “I don’t get why people love this place so much” mentality. I understand busy but when it comes to my one day away from being the waiter you really want to be waited on and done so, properly.
As with most things however, the more the wine flowed the better things became. The staff lightened up became more relaxed and guided me through some delicious wines. My favourite, despite my less than platonic relationship with Guavas was the Chenin Blanc. The bouquet screamed fruit-typical of most Chenins, but the Babylonstoren new vintage was well balanced with both melon and guava and would be perfect at any picnic or lazy lunch with friends.
I soon discovered the food offering light farm to table style smorgasbords with variations for pesceterians, carnivores and the vegan/vegetarians too. I opted for the winemakers platter as i thought the items offered would enhance my wine tasting experience and heighten the tasting notes passionately explained by each of the staff that served me. (i suggest you order your platters before you start your tasting and choosing your wines, as one would do typically in a restaurant)
I imagine the platter elements to be du jour/saison but the varied fruits ( I had guava & spanspek melon) charcuterie and parfait helped pronouncing certain flavour profiles of each of the five Babylonstoren Range wines. This included the fruity Chenin, a Mourvèdre Rosé (great blush in colour with a strawberry yogurt flavour on the palette-was uncanny) and a few reds. Babel, after the restaurant, a “Bordeaux” style wine with the addition of Shiraz and a great (robust) stand alone Shiraz. R50.00 a tasting of five.
By what I indulged in, the tasting room will become yet another experience part of the Babylonstoren portfolio that requires being booked (months) in advance and as you have read it’s transparent to see why. There are various other aspects and sights to the farm as well. For ever booked-Babel restaurant, a fantastic (from what I hear Spa), Accommodation and the Green House tea room too.
Follow the rest of my journey on this beautiful estate as I walk through the various gardens to enjoy an espresso at The Greenhouse just moments away from the tasting room. SEE HERE: http://www.hospitalityhedonist.co.za/hh-babel-visual-diary/