In defense of Jane

The proud tradition of shooting the messenger continues. Jane MacQuitty, wine pundit for the London Times, comes in for some stick from Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show judge Cathy van Zyl who notes that WoSA has started the dreaded ‘search and destroy’ ball rolling on the trail of those ‘tell-tale dirty, rubbery, red wine pongs’ Jane wrote about last month.

WoSA’s ball comes in the shape of a wine tasting “organised a few weeks before MacQuitty’s rant, in case she wants to claim kudos when we begin making strides against the phenomenon.” Well Jane certainly can claim the kudos because the WoSA tasting is a direct result of a story she wrote the week after the Springboks humbled England at Twickenham in 2007 when she blew the whistle on SA wine under the headline “Burly South Africans: SA has yet to tame its red wine’s peculiar burnt rubber and dirt odour.”

jm In defense of Jane

This is the second time this month the anoraques at Grape have been wrong about Jane. Earlier, The Widow asked “did you see the recent attack – not the first – on South African wines by Jane MacQuitty in the London Times? Apart from never having even visited the country whose wines she rubbishes…” Which turned out to be a porkie pie. I can’t help but think that Grape’s anti-Jane stance has more to do with the fact that her rubbery wines are also Platter’s 4.5 and 5 star “stunners”, than increased sensitivity to burnt rubber. This pervasive Platter connection at Grape (the editorial troika consists of two Platter’s associate editors and a senior taster) being a conflict of interest rarely mentioned. In fact some producers call Grape “a protection racket”, using Platter connections to blag invitations and free “tasting” samples.

But is Jane even picking on SA? Last Sunday in an article entitled “Australian quality goes down under”, she rails against “a clutch of earthy, oaky, alcoholic also rans.” But what a breath of fresh air to hear negative comments as SA wine writing is overwhelmingly run for the benefit of producers as opposed to consumers, with many pundits on producer payrolls.