A 7% Solution


Cassie du Plessis, editor of Wineland, reviews Sour Grapes in the January edition of his magazine under the strap-line “a crusade for fair wine judging and writing.” Which it is if you ignore all the stuff about art, marketing, connoisseurs and other curious coves who make up the Mondovino.

The only serious mistake of fact I picked up was the observation “even before the publication of Pendock’s book, when the buzz about sighted tasting was already on, the publishers of the [Platter] guide announced that they would be hosting an Open Discussion Forum on Blind versus Sighted Tasting.” Sour Grapes was launched on November 5 and the Platter bombshell appeared the day before. Coincidence? SG was published the previous month and was largely responsible for the aforesaid “buzz about sighted tasting”!

The cover of SG features the comment from John Platter “Neil has written the book I told him not to write” and Cassie comments there is “no explanation of the context of this quote. It is thus not clear how seriously one should view these words…” The context is simple: publisher Tafelberg sent him a copy which he read before making this statement, so taking it at face value will do just fine.

Laid out on the opposite page is a review of Platter 2009 which has me worried. Cassie talks of “the 604 ‘bible thin’ pages and the smallest font you can possibly get away with…” The copy I bought from www.kalahari.net has only 567 pages between fetching French Lavender covers, so I’m missing 37 pages – a shrinkage of 7%, so call Sherlock Holmes toute suite. Perhaps this is how Kalahari manages to sell books cheaper than Exclusives. It certainly adds new meaning to the term “book discounter.”

But what gems did the missing pages contain? Tasting notes for wines from Abingdon, Akkerdraai, Anthonij Rupert Wines (the flagship range raved by Wine Spectator), Aufwaerts and Avondvrede perhaps? – and that’s only the A’s. Then there’s the B’s: Baarsma, Badenhorst Family Wines, Bezalel, Bizoe, Blankbottle, Bloemendal, Blueberry Hill, Bodega, Borg Family Wines, Brenthurst which are all missing tasting notes… Although I was pleased to note that Oompie se Oeps and Meskien Christine from BurCon are described in all their glory.

One welcome innovation is the addition of a new taster to the lineup of Platter pundits – Pa Nel. Could Mr. Nel be related to Ma Nolte, mystery art critic of Die Burger who wrote a totally incomprehensible review of Sour Grapes last year? I speculate as Nel’s bio is missing from the inside back cover of Platter 09. Or could this be a Kalahari missing pages thing again?