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Spice Route

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Charles Back was born in Paarl, on the Fairview estate which his family has owned since 1937. After gaining his qualifications in oenology and viticulture, Charles returned to Fairview where he worked for several years honing his skills. In 1997 he bought a farm near Malmesbury in the Swartland region and, in just two years, he transformed the estate by tearing up the under-performing vines. He chose to work with 40 year old Chenin Blanc and Pinotage bushvines which promised, and subsequently delivered, some fantastic fruit. New, warm climate grape varieties were planted alongside the Chenin and Pinotage at Spice Route, most of which historically would have been far more at home in the Rhône, the South of France and Italy. In 2002, Charles hired winemaker Charl du Plessis, a man with an enormous passion for wine and with an incredible eye for detail.

In essence, the Spice Route Winery's name reflects what the vineyard, the wines and the people are all about. It recalls the spirit of the 15th century mariners who braved the tempestuous waters around the Cape of Good Hope as they plied their trade, bringing exotic spices from the far east to Europe along the Spice Route. In much the same way, Charles Back went sailing into largely uncharted waters on his route to realising the viticultural potential of his part of the Swartland wine region. Spice Route’s name is equally evocative of the style of wines being made: rich, complex yet infinitely enjoyable, with ripe fruit of the finest quality skilfully enhanced through careful oaking… much as carefully selected spices bring out the flavours of food.
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