Our quest for the Best Wine Under $20, we are going to South Africa to review the Goats Do Roam Red Blend from Fairview, out of the Western Cape region. South Africa is one of the oldest wine regions in the world, but it’s only recently has the quality become world renowned. We’ll teach you the basics of the history, geography, and other factors that play into the awesome wine regions of South Africa.
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With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.
Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.
Respected South African winery Fairview owner/vintner Charles Back has built what started as a single red blend named Goats do Roam into a full-fledged wine company offering a range of top-quality, blended wines widely available throughout the wine-drinking world. The Goats do Roam brand is, in fact, the single-biggest selling South African wine label in the United States. Fruit for the wines is sourced from vineyards in the Paarl, Malmesbury and Stellenbosch areas, where Back owns farms or buys fruit from selected wine growers. No matter what their origins, grapes are selected based on the basis of inherent fruit quality and flavor characteristics required for each respective blend in the range.
The grapes are vinified in Fairview’s cellar in Paarl by Charles Back and resident winemaker Anthony de Jager, also responsible for the Fairview range. For all the light-hearted sense of fun evident in the labelling and branding of the Goats do Roam range, the wines themselves take a serious approach to quality. The style is modern, fruit-rich, with intelligent use of wood for either fermentation and/or maturation in small French and American oak barrels. The range is predominantly red, complemented by selected whites and a rosé and covering tastes from those that call for a wine with complexity and cellaring potential to those that require early drinking.
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