Winemaker: Matthew Copeland
Background: Vondeling was established in 2001 by a group of English businessmen, Richard Gower, Anthony Ward and managing director, Julian Johnson, who have given their investment, expertise and philosophy to this progressively run farm. The property has 40ha’s under vine which over the years have been carefully nurtured by Julian and his dedicated team. They are committed towards creating an eco-friendly environment and are making huge inroads with their move towards biological farming and, in fact, are one of the first farms in the Cape to use compost teas instead of fungicides which so far has proved beneficial! The farm is also rich in indigenous fynbos and boasts four species that are unique to this area of the Paardeberg Mountain namely Babiana Noctiflora, Erica hippuris. Oscularia Paardebergenis and Serruria Roxberghii and two of the Vondeling wines have been named after them namely the Babiana white blend and the Erica Shiraz. Looking after and taking stock of all these endangered species they have employed a full time resident botanist.
The Babiana is a predominantly Chenin Blanc led blend and has been part of their portfolio since their first bottling in 2005. Consistently a brilliant wine and certainly a white wine that has excellent maturation potential which was proven at a wine tasting this week of the 11 vintages made to date!
The current vintage is the 2015 and has 60% Chenin Blanc; 18% Grenache Blanc; 16% Viognier and 6% Chardonnay. The Chenin comes from their 30 year old Graveyard Block named after the historic family graveyard alongside! The Grenache Blanc was cold soaked on the skins for 5 days before being pressed and was co fermented with a little of both the Chenin and Viognier. After 100% natural fermentation in barrel the individual wines were left on the lees for 7 months prior to final blending which was followed by a further 4 months barrel maturation before bottling!
Result: The wine offers aromas of honey with subtle peach and toasted cashews. The intense palate offers elegant flavours of honeyed pears with dashes of white pepper culminating in a long mineral, spicy rich finish.
When to drink: Now till 2025!
Drink with what: It paired beautifully with seared duck breasts with honey, soy and ginger! Winemaker Matthew also suggests rabbit in white wine sauce and shallots or simple aromatic Asian dishes.
Expect to pay: R168.00