Fairview

Coastal Region
www.fairview.co.za

Background

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, which holds Cru Bourgeois rating in Tim Atkin MW's classification of South Africa, 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. 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.

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Inspiration

My inspirational wine

During a visit to Chapoutier in the Northern Rhone in 1997, I tasted "L'Ermite" (probably the 1996 vintage) from barrel. In its raw, unfiltered, unbottled state, with the actual vineyard in plain sight from the cellar, this wine brought home a very important, albeit clichéd, truth about wine - it is made in the vineyard, not the cellar. Those 80 year old vines were responsible for that incredible wine and only needed traditional, straight forward winemaking techniques to coax out their true character. This experience brought sense to what winemaking is all about - it is less involved than it seems and things are sometimes unnecessarily over-complicated. Charles Back