Country: South Africa Region: Coastal Region
Varietal: Chenin/Muscat Category: Sweet White Color: White
"The Fairview estate is situated approximately 50 kilometres from Cape Town, on the lower slopes of Mt. Paarl, and was planted with vines as early as 1699. The property was bought by Charles Back's grandfather in 1937 and was subsequently run by his father, Cyril, before Charles took charge. His era has seen Fairview emerge to become one of the country's most exciting properties, with all its production now certified as Fair Trade. Charles doesn't use the certification, however, as he wants to sell on merit. The excitement engendered by Fairview was recognised in 2014 when Charles was given the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' by the International Wine Challenge. Though slightly alarmed at being given this gong when he was only 58, Charles was happy to join the likes of Hugh Johnson, Peter Lehmann and Michael Broadbent as a recipient of this award.
The wines from Fairview continue to evolve in style under winemaker Anthony de Jager. By better work in the vineyard (opening the canopies to allow light to get to the grapes earlier in the season, for instance) he is getting full ripeness at an earlier stage. This means earlier picking, which in turn means red wines with more vibrancy and freshness. The Pinotage and Beacon Shiraz have both benefitted from this approach, and are looking better than ever.
With the whites, he is looking for full ripeness, especially with the Sauvignon. ""We don't want any green characters in our Sauvignons"", he says. The 2015 Darling Sauvignon is more tropical in flavour as a result, with lovely texture and depth on the palate. Surprising some upon first taste, as it lacks the herbaceous characters often associated with South African Sauvignon Blanc, but it is a much better drink as a result of this work. Equally exciting is the 2015 Darling Chenin Blanc. It is is fragrant and has a lime zest character on both the nose and palate.
Charles continues to invest at Fairview, and has bought, in the past few years, both neighbouring properties. New vineyards have been planted on the hills, so the wines from this fine property will continue to improve over the coming years. Given their current level of quality, this is an exciting prospect."
Winemaker: Anthony de Jager
Fairview La Beryl is a traditional straw dried sweet wine named after Charles Back's mother. The Chenin Blanc was grown in two vineyards. The first is an untrellised dryland vineyard at the Primo farm in Agter-Paarl and the second is a 33 year old vineyard at Fairview, where the vines are planted in decomposed granite, with koffieklip subsoils.
The Chenin Blanc grapes were hand harvested into small baskets and transferred to a well-ventilated barn where they were laid out on beds of straw to dry for approximately four weeks. During this time, the grapes lost about 75% of their volume, intensifying flavour and sweetness. The grapes were pressed and the juice fermented for eight months in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks prior to filtering and bottling.
Intense tropical fruit followed by delicate notes of clove and hints of jasmine blossom on the nose. Lychee and tropical fruit linger on the palate. The mouthfeel is rich and fruity yet well-balanced, with refreshing acidity. The Beryl Blanc will age well but is excellent now.
Food Suggestion: Sip as a digestif, or pairs beautifully with sweet desserts like tarte tatin and cheesecake.
Closure: Natural Cork ABV:9% Acidity [g/l]: 7