FAIRVIEW Estate is one of South Africa’s most renowned wineries and its owner, Charles Back, is a talented winemaker. Located near Paarl Mountain, Fairview Estate is a picturesque property with a unique ‘goat tower’, built despite the reservations of his father, Cyril, and home to a herd of goats.
Apart from making seriously good cheese the goats decided during the summer of 2000 that they should also have wine. While most in the sensible world have seen the Goats do Roam and Goat Roti labels as a bit of fun, the French haven’t taken the play on words entirely well. The French Government trademarks office, Institut National des Appellations de Origine, or INAO, has initiated a lawsuit against Mr Back over this now famous range of wine.
The French believe the trademark is too close to those of France’s Cotes du Rhone and Cote Roti. During August a group of workers from Fariview staged a protest outside the French Chamber of Commerce. The protesters wore goat masks and carried placards and posters with the slogans ‘Save our Goat’ and ‘Support our Bokke’ as well as ‘Don’t Buck our Goat’. On the Fairview Estate website this is how the 2001Goat Roti is introduced:
“Rumblings of discord have been heard in the Fairview flock. Bearded and wise elders grumble of the demise of their position, as the frisky exuberance of the youthful members of the flock continue to capture hearts and headlines with their hugely successful Goats Do Roam range of wines. The council of Billy Goats convened to determine a strategy to create a wine befitting their status. An edict was issued from above. Go forth and find the finest fruit, or risk a roasting! And thus the challenge was raised to produce Goat Roti. Selecting grapes that include shiraz, viognier and mourvedre, the elders have come up with an intense wine with rich fruit, warm spice and a structure that begs cellaring for a number of years. The elders are pleased!”
As for the wines, well, they are seriously good. The Goats do Roam is quite a light, quaffable wine and the Goat Roti is more robust and quite delicious. Both are well priced and can be found by roaming around Steve’s Bottle shop in Nedlands.
While on the more lighthearted side of the wine industry, I spent the recent long weekend in and around the Great Southern.
On the Friday night I was asked to present some Spanish wines as part of West Cape Howe winery’s ‘Culinary Inquisition’, an annual event that attracts more than 130 food and wine lovers from around WA. The event looks to showcase regional produce and matches wines to those dishes.
Upon arrival this year guests were treated to a glass of refreshing riesling and a selection of Western Australian rock oysters and Tasmanian Pacific oysters. We were then assigned a group to participate in the first of the four master classes, which culminated in a relaxed after-class soiree where all were able to graze through a number of food stations.
Trudi Michels from njoi Olive Oil and Rafael Ramirez were the other presenters for the ‘Spanish Inquisition’. They prepared two delightful dishes – a terrine of rabbit and pork with prunes, carrots and herbs, and patatas con chorizo.
The terrine was matched with the delights of a Spanish sherry – Lustau Solera Reserva Dry Amontillado ‘Los Arcos’. As it might have been some time since many in the gathering had tasted a sherry, it was great to see the expression of enjoyment on the faces of the inquisitors. As a self-proclaimed ‘venenciador’, it was my job to pour the sherry in the traditional way. While not yet a master of the venencia (the implement that draws the sherry from barrel), I am looking at refining the art before my next gig.
The patatas con chorizo was a rich dish traditional of regional Spain. It combined waxy potatoes, red capsicum, chorizo and the magic of pimenton, or smoked paprika. This was combined with 1999 Torres Gran Sangre Toro Reserva, which is a food-friendly wine that soaked up the spice of this dish, displaying complementing acidity and a subtlety of fruit weight.
The ‘inquistion’ is a lively and engaging event that sold out quicker than the Fleetwood Mac concert. So for those interested in next year’s event my advice is to make inquiries now. It really is a gourmet’s delight and highlights the quality of our local produce.
Let’s hope that next year the team organising the inquisition can delve even further into the wealth of good produce that I find each time I visit the Albany farmers’ market.
Some results from recent wine shows
Geographe regional wine show gold medals
Willow Bridge Estate 2003 Winemakers Reserve Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Donnybrook Estate 2003 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
Harvey Estate 2002 Willy Bay Middle Stump Shiraz
Willow Bridge Estate 2001 Black Dog Shiraz
Capel Vale 2002 Blue Manna Cabernet
Hackersley Estate 2002 Merlot
2003 Swan Valley wine show trophy winners
Best methode champenoise
2000 Jane Brook Estate Elizabeth Jane Pinot Noir Chardonnay
2003 Faber Vineyard Verdelho
Best sweet white tablewine
1999 John Kosovich Wines Autumn Harvest Semillon Verdelho
Best dry white tablewine
2001 Piesse Brook Wines Chardonnay
2002 Upper Reach Winery Shiraz
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