30 Apr Our Mother Block | Viognier
The month of May calls for many celebrations – the cooler months bringing with it a relief in the hot weather that has spurred on one of the worst droughts the Cape has endured in many decades, a calmer time in our cellar as harvest comes to a close, and the celebration of mom’s everywhere for Mother’s Day on the 13th May. However, did you know that all vineyards in South Africa, and indeed, around the world, also have mothers? All grapes had to start from somewhere, didn’t they?
Mother block vineyards are just like what they sound – the first vines to be grown in a region that give rise to the rest of the same variety’s vines in that region. At Fairview, we are very fortunate and proud to have the original mother block of Viognier, planted in 1997 by Charles Back.
Charles desire to bring the aromatic white variety to the Cape stemmed from a visit to France’s Rhône region in 1989. During his trip, he tried Viognier for the first time, and explains how he was immediately struck by the unique nature of the wine, with its intriguing balance of fragrance, deep fruit and austere structure.
“I knew at once that the terroir of the Cape would be well-suited to Viognier, and as we tasted the wines I was thinking about the soils and sites that I was fortunate enough to have found come across over the years,” shares Charles.
When he returned to South Africa, Charles carefully started the process of sourcing the vines to bring to South Africa – a lengthy, complicated and often laborious process. It’s not easy bringing a foreign vine to local soils! But being determined, by the early 1990’s, Fairview was harvesting fruit from our Viognier vineyards.
Today, our trellised Viognier vines grow on the slopes of Paarl Mountain, on decomposed granite soils. Despite the beating summer sun, the resilient grape results in full, ripe and healthy grapes, and after maturation in bottle, shows its well-loved subtle perfumed fruit and great mouthfeel with every vintage.
In 2017, we celebrated 10 years of bottling this varietal. Our Fairview winemakers enjoy sculpting this variety into various styles, including as a single variety (try our Fairview Viognier), as well as being the frontrunner in our unique Brut MCC, and a leading component of our celebrated Nurok white blend. It’s even featured in our Goats Do Roam White Blend and Goat Roti!
Viognier is very flexible, working in a wide variety of seafood, roasted or grilled chicken, pork, spicy flavors and Asian cuisine. A Malay curry with delicate spice and dried fruits is particularly delicious when paired with Viognier. This Mother’s Day, our recommendation is to grab yourself a bottle (or two) of our very own mother block wine, Fairview Viognier, and celebrate!