Platter Pummeled by Die Burger


The big question on everyone’s lips, is who is Gismoer, new wine voice in Die Burger?  For on the very day of the annual launch of the Platter Wine Guide, Gismoer launches a withering attack and accuses it of:

1)   Jingoism (“among the panel of judges there is not a single Afrikaans speaker”) when Afrikaans is the lingua-franca of the industry;

2)   Being a scam, as wines are rated sighted.  The infamous example of a 2007 Cabernet from The Goose Wines which was rated 4 stars but was exactly the same wine as a 2007 Cabernet from Uitvlucht Cellar in Montagu, a much more humble brand rated ½ star, is hauled out, run up the flagpole and saluted.

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Gissie is unlikely to be Christine Rudman, who writes for Die Burger, as she’s also a Platter judge and the column is way above the fireplace, with too little alliteration, to come from the Montblanc of Mr. Min, a sometimes Burger wine hack.

As a competitor to Platter putting the finishing touches to Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2013, I’m more than a little concerned that Sipho  and Thandi mPublic may decide that wine guides are not worth the paper their printed on in Singapore, and gives them the flick.  Which would really be throwing the baby out with the bathwater as Aníbal Coutinho and I recently blind tasted over 2000 wines in the regions in which the grapes were grown and are thus in a unique position to report on regionality and the relative performance of vintages and cultivars.  147 wines were rated a full-house of ♥♥♥♥♥ for a hit rate of 7%.  The appellations stack up blind as follows:

  1. Stellenbosch 39 ♥♥♥♥♥ wines or 27% of the total
  2. Robertson 16 for 11%
  3. Paarl 14 for 10%
  4. Elgin 11
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  6. Breedekloof 8
  7. Swartland 7
  8. Constantia, Bot River 6
  9. Namaqualand, Hemel & Aarde, Wellington 5
  10. Durbanville, Klein Karoo 4
  11. Darling, Tulbagh 3
  12. Elim, Cederberg 1

As for styles, 28 ♥♥♥♥♥ wines (19%) were red blends – either Bordeaux (Cabernet/Merlot), Cape (Pinotage) or Rhône (Shiraz) dominated while white blends numbered 8 (5%).  The numbers for single varietals are:

  1. Shiraz 19 or 13% of the total
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon 17 or 12%
  3. Chardonnay 16
  4. Chenin Blanc 13
  5. Sauvignon Blanc 9
  6. Pinot Noir, Merlot 6
  7. Sémillon, Pinotage 3
  8. Cabernet Franc 2
  9. Riesling, Viognier, Malbec, Verdelho, Hanepoot, Tinta Barocca, Pinot Grigio 1

Among vintages, 2010 was most popular for ♥♥♥♥♥ with 39 wines or 27%.  The age distribution looks like:

  1. 2010 39
  2. 2009, 2011 36
  3. 2008 13
  4. 2007 11
  5. 2012 6
  6. 2006 2
  7. 2004, 2005 1

A truncated Gaussian with a long tail, as any wine-loving statistician will confirm.  The Platter defence against the simple and sensible request that they rate wines blind, is that it is logistically infeasible.  Which is absolute rot, if Aníbal and I can get through over two thousand wines without corporate sponsorship.  Last year 15 judges plus a full-time editor and support staff of the calibre of Jos Baker collaborated on Platter, which should make blind tasting child’s play.