30 December 2009
Fairview Launch La Capra range
I was reminded of the Beatles tune ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite’ when I opened La Capra 2008 Pinotage. The fab four’s song had been inspired by a circus poster, as surely is La Capra.
The ranges’ back labels promising that “each glass will transport you to a magical place where the wine flows freely, laughter fills the air and you dance until the sunrise” recall Victorian fairground posters.
La Capra seems a strange name for a new wine brand until you learn that it’s a Latin reference to goats and then you understand. For behind La Capra stands someone who George Taber in his recent book ‘In Search of Bacchus’ calls “a man who never heard a pun about goats he didn’t like”.
Yup, it’s Charles Back; chief goat herder, cheese maker extraordinaire, wine maker, tracker down of old blocks of rare grape varieties and consummate marketer whose brands include Fairview, Goats du Roam, Spice Route and who has interests in MAN Vintners, Juno and more.
Da Capra labels’ claim that ‘Fairview presents AMAZING tastes, sounds and sights of the La Capra Festival’ will come true, says Anita Streicher, manager at Fairview Winery’s master tasting room. She tells me that Fairview will be hosting an annual live La Capra fair with stalls, jugglers, fire eaters and other circus and fairground entertainments, and no doubt plentiful wines and goats’ cheese to accompany them.
La Capra is meant to be an easy drinking, non-serious, fun wine range. Individual pricing is not yet announced but for an indication currently any six wines from the nine strong range are available at Fairview for 200 rands (£16.50/$33). The La Capra range includes a Malbec, still an uncommon variety in the Cape and the wine which Anita recommends, as well as Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
So what of La Capra Pinotage 2008? It is said to be ‘as brooding and complex as a troubadour’, but I am not up to date on the psychology of travelling balladeers. I found it to be a clean, modern, fruity wine for drinking, which is what I did with it. It went down quickly and enjoyably -- but it didn’t sing to me.