Tim James reviews Cape Town's white blends of wine.
Fairview Nurok 2012 R95
The most exciting category of wine made in the Cape these days? I wouldn't be alone in unhesitatingly nominating white blends. There are numerous fine varietal whites (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, etcetera), but in this case more is more.
One style of blends takes Bordeaux as its model, with sauvignon blanc and semillon.
The other is authentically, uniquely South African, a style that has grown terrifically over the last decade.
Mostly these wines come from warmer inland areas, usually with a good dollop of chenin, and two or three (occasionally nine!) of a range of other grapes thrown in.
Such is Fairview Nurok, from Charles Back's Paarl enterprise, which so successfully combines goats and vines. Apricot-fragrant viognier is the dominant variety, with chenin and the rarer roussanne and grenache blanc.
All very naturally made, with no new oak influence to disguise the pure fruit. Beautifully poised, it's fairly rich and sweet-fruited, but fresh and dry.
Nurok's name has a charming Lithuanian tale of religious tolerance behind it – illustrated on the front label and explained on the back.
Actually the label is not the wine's strong point; it's what's inside that convinces: serious enough, but delicious and subtly unshowy.
Good value too. – Tim James