Towards professional tasting notes

l’Affaire Natalie is shaping up into a Dreyfuss débâcle de nos jours. It has even been hailed by Californian Sommelier the HoseMaster (below) as “the best scandal of 2012” in a crowded field. Hose summed it up as Canadian wino Natalie MacLean daring to “use dull and virtually interchangeable wine reviews from wine experts on her blog without attribution. Though this gave the reviews value they otherwise lacked, the experts were outraged. Funny thing about experts, outrage is what they’re really good at, and little else.”

hm1 300x244 Towards professional tasting notes

Actually Natalie used taster’s initials rather than their names and qualifications, which puts her in the same boat as our beloved Platter sighted wine guide. With probably the same effect, as most SA consumers assume that saintly John Platter is responsible for the tasting notes in a guide that bears his name. Indeed, in the quotes lifted for numerous restaurant wine lists, initials are left behind and star ratings are used with gay abandon and are often applied to different vintages to those assessed.

But what’s even worse than dropping initials is the lack of a time stamp. For wine is an evolving experience and whether last year’s Platter adjectives still apply to a 2012 Robertson Colombard in January 2013 when the wine was tasted six months previously, is moot indeed.

But Mr. Platter has some competition in the quotation game in the shape of Spar Supermarkets, largest wine retailer in SA. Last year, 13 national legacy newspapers and 8 community knock-and-drops carried ads for the recently launched Olive Brook range with attributed quotations from some leading SA winos.

Tinus Van Niekerk: “Stylish,easy-drinking wines with great fruit and flavour expression, specifically handcrafted to be served with food and enjoyed at all informal occasions………”

Neil Pendock: “These wines over-deliver freshness, flavour, presentation and all round value for money”

Andrew Chigorimba: “Overly expressive wines guaranteed to spruce up any meal!”

Melvyn Minnaar: “Ongewone, selfs taamlik opwindende wyne vir jou gerekte rand”

Christian Eedes: “All pleasant drinking and priced to make sure your festive season is extra festive”

Samarie Smith: “These are wines that will ask you to dig deep into your senses without having to dig deep into your pockets”

As legacy newspapers have a shelf life of a day (or less) before being recycled to the bottom of the budgie cage, this is one area in which legacy media have an advantage over digital.