I have always adored Christmas, amidst all its floridity, pageantry, and naturally the ceremony of it all. Seemingly I have an unusual amount of energy, fervor; and yet, an inordinate amount of tolerance. Gratitude. Love. Affection. Christmas is these things for me. But—the widely held notion that with all these beautiful wisps of humanness comes inevitable stress, fervid whirling –[or not so fervid, instead whirling in tedium] it rings true for most. With this, the arrival of Christmas brings with it a need for something assuaging. A step behind the curtain, a place beyond rising blood pressure, anxiety, and impatience; and instead a step into tolerance and gratitude and affection. Comfort and prettiness. Humor and ease.
Humor indeed, in my brood. Goats roamed about my kitchen on Christmas. As I write this even, tempted to refer to my siblings and myself as little ‘goats’, I remember with that affection a book my father read to us as wee things about ‘Billy Goats Gruff’. From one of the most avant-garde and leading winemakers in New World regions, Goats do Roam Red, 2010. Plush, warm, and pretty and sufficiently appropriate for stepping behind the curtain of holiday clamor. And what an assuagement: I outwardly extoll, evangelize, proselytize the wonders of Rhone Valley wines; I honor wines made in the New World with the intent to mirror the practices and grapes of Rhone Valley vintners. And how I adore humor and casualness in the approach of a modern winemaker, disregarding his own threats of pageantry and ceremony always somewhere lurking in the world of wine.
Goats do Roam is thoroughly modern and very young in the scope of wine legacy, as it proudly represents the steadily improving wine economy of South Africa. For this blend from the most recent vintage, a tradition-minded mélange of Rhone grapes: my most cherished syrah dominating, alongside cinsault, mourvedre and carignan. In South Africa, the WO—Wine of Origin—identified regions of the most prominence are arguably Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Worcester, all near Cape Town. Goats do Roam’s particular blend of these Rhone grapes incorporates Paarl and Swartland sourcing, both of which are in the Western Cape appellation. Thus, the wine is classified as Wine of Origin Western Cape.
Borrowing from my beloved, the Goats do Roam winemakers-- who initially created only three wines: a red, a white, and a rose; and now produce hilarious but beautiful bottlings named as ‘Goat Roti’-a twist on the Cote-Rotie, ‘Bored Doe’-a play on a Bordelaise blend, among others.—obviously designated their winery to hint towards the Rhone’s Cotes du Rhone appellation. (Love it and any Cotes du Rhone I can get my hands on) Accordingly, the first wines were blends, as done by their namesake.
A joy, a breath of casualness: both the presence of fresh berries and those silkened by cooking, red and black, aromas of smoke and spice. An amazingly plush, silken-textured wine; very ripe, but neither too overwhelmed with sweet fruit or alcohol.
Just lovely, abundantly characterful—characterful just like its South African producer, and characterful, suitably, just like the atmosphere created by my silly, casual, but affectionate family in its Christmas revelry. Because, in essence, Christmas is a meeting of the old and new, of past tradition and life evolving—circumstances change, children become adults, the circuitry of family changes—and gratitude and love bring us to an honor for familial histories; what else could be more fitting than all this reflected in a wine?