Is there anybody in South African wine to touch Charles Back of Fairview, Spice Route and Goats do Roam when it comes to marketing? His latest initiative is the launch of La Capra, a range of “lifestyle” wines and while they take their name from the Italian for goat, they go so much beyond “critter wines”, the category that arose out of the success Australian brand Yellow Tail (a type of wallaby) had in the USA at the beginning of the 2000s.
Official media launch took the form of a gypsy-style caravan being installed at Wembley Square in Gardens, Cape Town. Three musicians entertained passers-by while Bridget, daughter of Charles conducted private tastings within.
Supposedly, the brand is inspired by one Attila Balébôs, a colourful drifter with a taste for music and good food and wine who was encountered by Back many years ago when he stopped off at Fairview. Asked if this story is legit, Back Jnr replies “Your guess is as good as mine.” After studying marketing and psychology, she has been put to work on every aspect of the Fairview business over the last year or so, and describes it as “the longest job interview anybody could undergo”.
If those consumers who drink “lifestyle” wines are the same as those into new media, then the launch is working gangbusters: Bangers and Nash, Cape Town news blog and A million miles from normal are all blogs that have covered La Capra already. Not much I can add except to say that the wines are really well put together on the whole, and while approachable to even the most uninitiated wine drinker, don’t use obvious devices like overt sweetness or oak-derived flavour to do this.
The range consisting of a Sauvignon Blanc ‘09, Chenin Blanc ‘09, Chardonnay ‘09, Viognier ‘09, Pinotage Rosé ‘10, Pinotage ‘08, Shiraz ’08 and Cabernet Sauvignon ‘08. Among the whites, I thought the Chenin Blanc was particularly likeable with good palate weight and fresh acidity (part Agter Paarl fruit accounting for the depth and texture, part Darling providing the zing) . With Sauvignon Blanc flavour of the day, I have to say I found this a little phenolic and ungenerous. It comes from a bushvine vineyard in the Swartland planted in 1965 and recognised as the oldest in the country so perhaps it should be treated with more veneration. A passable Rosé for thos who can’t help themselves drinking the stuff and the reds all more than competent, even the Merlot. Buy any six for R200 from Fairview.