The Platter Guide (PG) is still, after so many years, so regional and Wine of Origin (WO) driven that it is not showing the wonderful wines from the Cape Winelands, but rather being so biased to certain producers and regions its worrying. Yes it is a sighted tasting and there have been so many discussions about sighted or blind tasting, but can none of these judges still taste the wines on merit?? I mean is it so difficult to use your ‘wine knowledge’, because that’s why you were appointed and chosen to be a judge, and judge the wine on merit and not where its from or by who it is produced?
For some producers it is ONLY the consistency in ratings and not necessarily the wine. How can a producer keep scoring the same ratings every single vintage or maybe even a half star better than the previous one??? Then some people talk about this vintage being so tough, last vintage being amazing but the wines score the same. Wow, so
doesn’t have vintage variations it seems??…or mainly on this side of the mountain I should say. By this side I mean South Africa ’s side of the Du Toitskloof Pass. It must be very difficult when you see the label in front of you and think, “geesh, I can’t give this wine less than 4*, I mean look who is the producer”. So the way I see it, if your Cab Sauv has scored 4.5* and you are located in the preferred Wine of Origin(WO) then you will have to put balsamic vinegar in the next vintage to score less than 4* in the following years guide. We bottled Wines for someone with their own brand, the same wine was rated 3.5* and 4 * in this new issue under different labels, interesting isnt it?? Cape Town
If anyone can come to me and say that this doesn’t play a role in the amount of stars you get awarded for your wines then I say bulls#@t. If your winery is situated in the preferred WO then you already have 2*, now all you need is a decent label, decent name and half good wine to get the other 2*, in total: 2*+2* = 4*
Half the problem here is that if the tasters go and have a look at the WO on the label of the specific wine it will probably (not always but a very good chance) state WO Western Cape!! Why, because they bought in grapes or wine to lift the quality and volume of what they can produce. This is why I have been so vocal and adamant about what an Estate Wine actually is and how tough it is to make sure that each vintage that you bottle is on par. There is a huge divide in the industry about WO and where your brand is located and this is hopefully changing with young, more open minded winemakers entering the industry. Unfortunately Platter will not change in the same way.
Softening the Judges:
Call it what you like but this is also a huge issue. Some producers being able to spoil their judge before the actual tasting of their wines for PG starts and in some instances the judges actually go to the winery to taste. No need to submit samples we will come to you or wait, why don’t we do dinner Saturday and we can chat about the wines you are submitting this year. Is this fair? NO, not according to me, because this is where the mind games start. If you think I am making this up, think again, all these things and more are happening except few will admit it. Bribery is what they call it in certain places.
Why am I saying all this?
The industry needs to be educated by something like Platter not “played” by it. There is NOTHING fair in Platter, but they expect producers to walk into a client who doesn’t really know anything about wine but believes that Platter will be his Magic 8-ball to see whether he can list this wine. Only to find that it is 3 stars…”sorry man but I only want 4 star Wines on my wine list”? Now how do I convince this guy other than telling him that Platter is a glorified telephone directory with info about the producers and maps to see where each producer is situated and the ratings are not worth the paper it’s printed on. A person once came to my stand to taste our Esteanna 2007 that scored 4 Stars, but I told him to forget about Platter rating, taste the wine and tell me what you think…he bought it because he learned more about the wine, where we are and what we do. At least I could tell one person NOT to trust in Platter, but I can only hope that more people will also do that. OH and before I forget, there was a wine rated in the 2011 Platter that we don’t even do anymore and didn’t submit samples, can someone tell me how that works?
It sounds like Sour Grapes hey? Damn right, because I know the quality of producers outside of Stellenbosch, Durbanville and Paarl and of places that the industry used to see as the factory of their brands and quite frankly will never talk about Top Quality coming from these regions, because guess what, that’s where they get all their wines from and if they were to compliment the wines then they will have to pay more next year and that isn’t clever business practice is it?
For some time now i have wondered, what if i dont submit any of my wines to Platter for tasting but just list all my details and wines that we do while stating, Not Tasted. Do you think we will lose listings or sales if we dont have a Platter rating?
I am asking anyone reading this blog to reply to me and inform me of ANY natural, dry wine, (not dessert of fortified) that has received 5 Stars in Platter from the
Robertson Wine Valley in the history of Platter.
Unfortunately I cannot confirm any so please help me with this and I am open to anyone that can inform me of any 5 Star Wines from the “other side of the mountain”.
Thanks for reading, I hope i didnt shock you too much.
Colyn The Leg Truter