Starry honour for a stellar wine named for a rare and starry flower

Vondeling Wines has been awarded five stars in the 2021 Platter’s South African Wine Guide for Babiana 2019, a distinctive white blend aptly named for the rare indigenous Babiana noctiflora, a starry night-blooming flower found only on the Paardeberg mountain that Vondeling calls home.

Six Vondeling wines also received 4.5-star ratings, showing the depth of the Voor Paardeberg winery’s range and its ability to produce outstanding wines across diverse varietals and styles. Vondeling Monsonia 2017, the red blend sister to Babiana, and the Bordeaux blend Vondeling Philosophie 2015 each scored 94 points, putting them within just one point of five-star status.

“This is the second Platter’s five-star rating accorded to our flagship Babiana, after the 2015 vintage received five stars in the 2017 guide. The wine has consistently received 4.5 stars in other vintages, along with competition medals and impressive ratings from international critics, testimony to the consistent excellence of a wine that is close to our hearts because it celebrates the natural heritage that we are passionate about conserving in our unique environment of the Voor Paardeberg,” Vondeling managing director Julian Johnsen said.

Vondeling Babiana 2019 scored 95 points, earning the wine the status of “superlative, a South African classic”.

Babiana 2019 is one of only 212 wines to receive the coveted five-star rating in the 2021 edition of the widely respected and comprehensive guide to South African wine, which contains ratings and reviews of more than 8,000 wines.

“We’re thrilled with a second five-star rating for Babiana, as well as the 94-point scores for Monsonia and Philosophie – a great achievement which puts them into the class of the highest-scoring wines reviewed for the ultimate five star ratings. Equally exciting is the 4.5 stars and 92-point score for our maiden vintage Bowwood Chenin Blanc 2019, tasted for Platter’s before its public release and already showing its superb potential.

“All our grapes come from the Vondeling farm and these ratings show that the farm has the depth and ability to produce quality wines across a broad range of styles from single varietal wines to blends, and bubbly to dessert wine,” said Vondeling winemaker Matthew Copeland.

Copeland said Babiana, now in its 15th vintage, was widely recognised as a distinctive and premium Cape white blend and showed how Chenin Blanc, the backbone of the wine, could “transform from workhorse to thoroughbred”.

The five-star Vondeling Babiana 2019 is a blend of predominantly Chenin Blanc from a 33-year-old single vineyard, its age and low yields producing intense fruit concentration and a rich textured palate, with Rhone varietals Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne tempering the fullness and adding vibrancy, bold aromatics and flavour complexity.

Vondeling’s 4.5 starred wines in full: Vondeling Monsonia 2017, Philosophie 2015, Bowwood Pinotage 2017, Bowwood Chenin Blanc 2019, the dessert wine Sweet Carolyn 2018, and the Rurale Méthode Ancestrale 2016 Blanc de Blancs bubbly.

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