Last week we sat down with Stephanie Wiid, a winemaker at Fairview Wine Farm in the Western Cape and the producer of her very own wine label Thistle & Weed. We chatted to Steph about Fairview’s sustainable wine production and what that entails, as well as the different varieties of wine that Fairview produce.
Well this week we got to do the really fun part – tasting some of the fantastic Fairview wines that Steph recommended! We tried the Bloemcool Skilpadrug and Bloemcool Dr. De Jager, the Fairview Nurok, the Stok by Paaltjie Grenache and the Goats do Roam Red. If you’ve ever visited Fairview Wine Farm, then I’m sure you’ve seen the goats scampering around their tower – but there’s more to the Goats do Roam name than just their goats, so keep reading!
We tried the Bloemcool Skilpadrug first and we all loved it. It’s a full luxurious white wine that smells of dried fruit and tastes delicious. Perfect with good company and hearty food! The old tale behind the name is that the family who lived on the farm used to invite their friends around for sumptuous lunches and guests could help themselves to wine from a big barrel using a tortoise shell as a scoop, hence the name skilpad rug, meaning tortoise’s back. This became a metaphor for this very full glass of wine – and full bodied and rich this wine is indeed!
With our environmentalist hats on, what we loved most about the Bloemcool range were the labels! The paper is made by Growing Paper, our favourite local paper and card makers, who put seeds into their paper so that you can plant the paper and grow herbs, flowers or vegetables… like cauliflower (aka blomkool). The bottles are also all recycled wine bottles, which takes us back to our old school Coca-Cola days, when you could return your empty bottles to be refilled and get a discount off your next Coke! Wouldn’t it be great if we could return our wine bottles to be refilled and receive a discount off our next bottle of wine!?
Next we tried the Nurok, this was a lighter more versatile white wine and the girls all loved it! The boys preferred the heavier Bloemcool white. This wine is a blend of Chenin, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, making it a more complex well-rounded wine than your single grape varieties. We all felt that a glass of Nurok would be perfect on a sunny day, with a braai, fresh salads and good friends!
We then moved onto the reds. As Steph mentioned in A Fair View on Wine, the Stok by Paaltjie is light and spicy, and we all decided it would pair perfectly with a tasty curry! And we might have been biased, but we were sure we could smell the Fynbos! We love that Fairview are encouraging the growth of natural vegetation in and around their vineyards, especially because the Fynbos Biome, which forms the main part of the Cape Floristic Region, is a globally recognised biodiversity hotspot. This is because the Cape Floristic Region is extremely rich in plant species (approximately 9000 species), but occupies less than 6 % of the country. So this incredibly rich and diverse biome only occurs over a very small area of South Africa, which is why conserving and protecting it is so important!
Following that, we moved onto the Goats do Roam Red, and here continues our story behind the name! Most people associate the Goats do Roam brand with the Fairview goats, who are hard to miss as you walk into the beautiful Fairview grounds. However, this playful name is also a clever play on words and is named after the wine growing region of Southern France, Côtes du Rhône or as it is better known, the Rhône Valley. So there’s some wine region trivia for you next time you’re at a quiz night!
Anyway we all really enjoyed this wine, it’s hard not to, because this is simply a wonderfully silky, easy drinking, good-value-for-money red wine! It’s a great bottle to crack open on a night in with the significant other over a tasty meal!
And last but most certainly not least the dessert wine, Bloemcool Dr. De Jager. To make this wine the grape skins are dried on straw mats and then pressed to create a syrup, which is then mixed with a Chenin Blanc and fermented. We loved this dessert wine because it wasn’t as sweet as most dessert wines can be, and this is due to the addition of the Chenin Blanc. This dessert wine went fabulously with our chocolate brownies but I’m sure it would be a perfect addition to an after dinner cheese board selection. Speaking of which, Fairview also make some really yummy cheeses, which you can buy at most Woolworths and Pick n Pay stores, so if you love cheese (who doesn’t?!) then give them a try too!
We had a fantastic evening enjoying Fairview’s wonderful wine selection! Thank you so much Steph and Fairview for giving us the opportunity to taste some of the wines Fairview have on offer! If you would like to buy any of these wines visit their online store www.fairview.co.za or better yet, do yourself a favour next time you are in Cape Town, and pay them a visit! The farm is beautiful, the wine is sustainably farmed and both the wine and cheeses are delicious!