By BRUCE DENNILL
Earthbound Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Goats / Directed by Christopher Neil / 13LD
Earthbound’s 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (produced at Papkuilsfontein Vineyards in Darling) makes a somewhat moist first impression – it’s as though you’re lying facedown in a meadow shortly after a light rain shower. That’s precisely the sort of thing you might find Goat Man (David Duchovny) doing, what with being a dope-smoking desert sage who lives in a pool-house and treats goats at least as well as he does people.
The people he’s surrounded by spend a large part of their time proving that Goat Man’s preference for the companionship of his animals may be sensible. Teenager Ellis (Graham Phillips) is alright, but his mother (Vera Farmiga) is a kook and her boyfriend (Justin Kirk) is a smug git who clearly can’t be trusted with being a good influence on the boy.
It’s a messy situation, which is not the case with the wine. It tastes very clean. Too clean perhaps, as there’s hardly any bite to it at all. Perhaps, in a bid to keep its effect on the palate in line with its marketing blurb, the winemakers have held back a little so as not to offend, and as a result have delivered something that is very easy-drinking, but largely because it’s rather plain. Their statement on the label says: “Let’s care about better living, natural abundance, the legacy of the land, sustainable futures & being earthbound.”
Goat Man operates on similarly live-and-let-love principles, being – despite appearances – exactly the sort of bloke you want your neglected 15-year-old son to disappear into the wilderness with if you’ve run off to practice rituals on some dubious weekend getaway. His methods for practising having an open mind may more often than not include chemical stimulation, but his advice when it comes to allowing people time to change and maintaining integrity while you wait is more orthodox.
Many will like the unthreatening nature of the Earthbound Sauvignon Blanc. Its blandness means that recovering from each sip (in terms of acidity on the tongue or any sense of heaviness at all) takes barely any time at all. In short, be careful with this stuff if you’re driving – it tastes like 5% alcohol by volume but actually has 12,5%.
Goats is more challenging, but no less easy to enjoy. Its characters, though all flawed, are easy to relate to – with the possible exception of the poncey boyfriend – and the trials of coming of age are filtered through dialogue and a storyline that’s always warm but occasionally less than fuzzy (especially when the symptoms of some of the fractured relationships are expressed verbally).
Both wine and film are chilled and unpretentious, and both will add quality to an evening at home.