Defending fair maiden's honour

Alas my letter to the editor of the Weekender in response to Michael Fridjhon’s article last week on smelly wine never appeared. Perhaps the letters page was too full of responses to the xenophobia that shook the country to have space for xenophobia of the vinous variety. Ironically, burning tyres feature in both manifestations. Here is the letter:

tyre Defending fair maiden's honour

Last weekend Michael Fridjhon (A drubbing about dirty wines leaves a bad odour) accused Jane MacQuitty of running “a personal vendetta” against SA wine for her article South Africa is struggling which appeared in the London Times of April 19.

MacQuitty’s comments could hardly have come “as something of a shock to the nation’s producers” as she made her point even more forcefully in Burly South Africans: SA has yet to tame its red wine’s peculiar burnt rubber and dirt odour on October 27 last year.

The personal vendetta argument (advanced since MacQuitty slated wines Jancis Robinson MW had enthused about) can safely be discounted by noting that the day after JR heaped praise on the “Platter laureates” in the Financial Times, another MW, Tim Atkin, noted in the Observer “I find too many Cape reds simultaneously green, rubbery and jammy, a combination that is unique in the world of wine.” Views he claims are “shared, I should add, by most UK wine writers.”

Perhaps rather than playing the lady, SA commentators should play the (rubber) ball.