Vondeling Babiana 2016 is picking up awards left right and centre. Chenin Blanc and Viognier are favourites for white blends in the Voor Paardeberg.
The fullness of the Chenin Blanc, as well as the structure and aroma of the Viognier is tempered by a strong mineral character, which the granite soils promote. The mid palate is very smooth and slightly creamy, but still tight, with a fresh citrus influence and a long, lingering aftertaste.
The Chenin Blanc grapes originate from a 30+year-old vineyard, aptly named The Graveyard Block in respect to the historic family graveyard it encloses. The vines naturally yield no more than 5 tons/ha. This ensures consistent quality and concentration, which is the reason it forms the backbone of our blend. Chenin Blanc and Viognier are favourites for white blends in the Paardeberg area. The fullness of the Chenin Blanc and the structure and aroma of the Viognier is tempered by a strong mineral freshness typical of our granite soils. The Chardonnay and Grenache Blanc lend vigour and freshness to the blend.
All grapes are hand-picked at optimum ripeness in the early hours of the morning. They are then chilled in a cold room. The grapes are not crushed, but are whole-bunch pressed straight to barrel. No sulphur, yeast or acid is added to the juice and the fermentation is 100% natural. Although a nerve-racking process, this method lends structure, palate weight and complexity to the wine. The Grenache Blanc, Viognier and some of the Chenin Blanc were co-fermented and undergo a limited amount of malolactic fermentation. The wine is matured on the lees for 7 months before being racked and blended. The final blend is then returned to barrel for another 4 months.
Colour: Pale, straw-like yellow.
Nose: A complex nose of soft fruit and spicy richness. Understated at first, the wine then opens up beautifully to expose sweet wild honey, peach blossoms, pineapple and toasted cashew nuts.
Palate: Wonderfully dense with a taut mineral freshness. Rose petals and white pepper are softened by honeyed pears. The oak is seamlessly integrated and smooth. The mid-palate is creamy, yet poised and the wine has a long, lingering finish.