Goats & Brothers

The international wine market is complex and competitive. No longer is it sufficient to have your wines come from some classically well-known, snooty wine region. US wine drinkers, who have access to thousands of wines from all over the world, are looking for well-made wines, with an interesting back story, at a fair price. Two of my favorites that I've been able to bring to our Wine & Words family's attention are the Goats Do Roam line of South African wines from Fairview's Charles Back and the delightful range of wines from the Bordelais brothers Lurton. "Goats & Brothers" - got your attention, didn't it? And the wines have gotten a lot of people's attention. 
You don't have to drink cheap, poorly made, barely drinkable grocery store junk.  These wines are top-notch, with no short cuts in the grape growing or the winemaking.  Read the back story below, then come in and try these wines.  These guys are top of the mark in "international style" wines that are made to take home and drink...and enjoy.
Fairview Estate WineryFairview Estate Winery
The "back story" of Fairview winery at the foot of table mountain in the beautiful Western Cape region of South Africa is literally a "Back" story.  It is well told on the Fairview website:
Charles Back’s philosophy is that wine is an integral and joyful part of everyday life. His unbridled enthusiasm, sense of fun and pure pleasure in growing vines, vinifying wine, and presenting it to wine lovers in all manner of exciting guises, pervades Fairview. You sense it when visiting. It’s a busy, happy, humming place. You get to taste and buy a vast array of different styles: from top-end, exclusive, often one-off bottlings through some fine Fairview standards to easy drinkers. An old maturation cellar has been converted into a casual Mediterranean-styled indoor/outdoor eatery called The Goatshed. Included on the menu are Fairview’s own internationally award-winning farmstyle Jersey milk and goats' milk cheeses. Fairview has a resident herd of 600 goats, some of whose members like to soak up the sun on the Goat Tower in front of the winery, as depicted on Fairview’s wine labels. Their antics have also been immortalised in the irreverently named, premium quality Goats do Roam range of wines.
So what are we waiting for...let's go.  Oh, there's the matter of a VERY long flight.  It's much quicker to come into one of our stores and try the wines.
Goats Do Roam Rosé (Western Cape, South Africa)  $10.95, no Feature Price
The story on the Goats Do Roam line of wines is that the resident goats got loose from their pen and chose the tastiest grapes in the vineyard.  I don't believe that for a minute.  This blend is just too sophisticated to have been put together by goats.  I see the hand of a very able blender here.  We have: Pinotage 38% (South Africa's signature red grape), Shiraz 20% (for bright fruit), Grenache 15%, Gamay 13% (these are "grapey" tasting grapes, the latter being the flavor of Beaujolais), Cinsaut 8%, Mourvèdre 6% (for that air of mystery on the nose and tongue).
WINEMAKER’S NOTES: Although Rosé is often seen as being fun and easy drinking, it can be one of the more rewarding wines to make. It is a labor intensive wine when made in the traditional saignée method (letting the color from the grape skins "bleed" into the wine in just the right amount), with the various components and the final blending requiring a lot of individual attention.
Goats Do Roam White (Western Cape, South Africa)  $9.95, no Feature Price
Another blend that's got nothing "goat" about it (though it would pair quite nicely with some fresh chevre goat cheese).  It's a classic Rhone white blend with a predominance of Viognier (64%), then the addition of other fruity Rhone grapes (Crouchen Blanc 18%, Chenin Blanc 13%
Pinot Gris 4%) and just a hint of Muscat (1%) sweetness.  This white is soft and easy-drinking, whether with a salad or other light summer fare or just as a luscious celebration of a warm summer evening.
 

The "Les Salices" ("the willows") line of Languedoc wines from Bordelais brothers Jacques and Francois Lurton were some of the first wines we carried at the Original Wine & Words.  They impressed me as being well-made and fair-priced.  I attributed these qualities to the twin facts that the winemakers are sons of a famous Bordeaux winemaker and that the wines are from the Languedoc-Rousillon region of Southwestern France, a region that has less expensive land and carries less wine cachet than the brothers' home region.
Lurton Les Salices Pinot Noir 2006 ((Vin de Pays D'Oc, France) Regular Price $14.95, Feature Price $11.96
This one is my "go to" value Pinot Noir.  It's made in a little fuller-bodied style than a classic Burgundy, but it's still got that French oak sophistication that gives it a Gallic accent.  This wine, like most Pinot Noirs, will pair well with almost any kind of food; but for a summertime treat try it with grilled Atlantic Salmon.  C'est Magnifique!
Lurton Les Salices Viognier 2007 (Vin de Pays D'Oc, France) Regular Price $14.95, Feature Price $11.96
In 1965 only a miserable eight hectares of Viognier (Vee-on-yay) grape existed in its Northern Rhône homeland appellation of Condrieu. This was a sad fate considering some believe the grape had grown there for at least 2000 years, possibly transported to the Rhône from its birthplace in Dalmatia by the Romans.  Beginning in the 1990's, growers across the Rhone and into other regions of France expanded Viognier plantings and added the grape to both red and white blends.  The real explosion of Viognier, though, was when it was discovered to be a great blender with the fruitier styles of Chardonnay in California and Australia.

Fresh and floral aromas are typical of the variety, although this one's on the delicate side. Dry, but not as tart as some Sauvignon Blanc, this Viognier's fresh white fruit and tangy acidity make it a good food companion; simple but clean and balanced.  It could become your favorite summer white.
This just in:  I noticed these next two wines were named only for brother Francois.  What, I wondered, what happened to the older brother, Jacques?  Well, some Google sleuthing turned up the fact that Francois bought out the business from Jacques in 2007 and is the consulting winemaker at the properties all around the world that now bear his name.  And Jacques?  He now owns a property on Kangaroo Island, Australia, a place "he and his new wife fell in love with after they spent their honeymoon there in 1997."  Is he still making wine? Oh, yeah.  He's now making wines under "The Islander" label.  And you can bet we're looking for them.
 
Bodega Francois Lurton Pinot Gris 2008 (Valle de Uco, Argentina) $10.95, no Feature Price
Valle de Uco, ArgentinaValle de Uco, Argentina

The Valle de Uco is part of the Mendoza province in the Andes foothills.  Its elevation makes it a superb Southern Hemisphere region for growing cool weather wine grapes, like this stellar Pinot Gris.  This wine is rich with fruit, yet it finishes with a clean and refreshing crispness.  It's a huge value!  We've even got a customer who is foregoing his favorite Adelsheim Pinot Gris (at almost three times the price) in favor of this one he deems "just as good."  Try it for yourself.
 
Domaine Francois Lurton Les Fumées Blanches (Vin de Pay du Comte Tolosan, France) Regular Price $14.95, Feature Price $11.96

Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grown in Southwest France, Les Fumées Blanches is vinified in a modern style which exemplifies the  skill with white wines that the Lurton brothers (now only one brother) learned from their Bordeaux heritage and training.
This is another of those "Lurton brothers" wines that was an early customer favorite at the Original Wine & Words.  Sauvignon Blanc was one of the Lurton brothers’ favorite varieties to work with, particularly in the south of France where the relatively cool microclimate on the hillsides and river shore of the Tarn allows them to express the smoky, slightly pungent aromas that are a defining characteristic of this grape variety. “Les Fumées Blanches” is named for the light morning mist that drifts like white smoke over the foothill vineyards at the base of the Pyrenees Mountains. Jacques Lurton vinifies Les Fumées Blanches in a modern style he has perfected for this wine, precisely capturing all the fresh, delicate floral aromas and crisp melon and spice flavors.