Who’s shaping the debate when it comes to wine quality in South Africa? Wine magazine ceased publishing in September 2011 and Platter’s is surely at some kind of crossroads (it’s disconcerting that the 2007 vintage of Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia didn’t even get nominated for 5 Stars in the guide despite eRobertParker.com taster Neal Martin scoring it 97 on the 100-point scale).
The Wine Tasting Academy was begun by leading wine critic Michael Fridjhon in 2007 to help raise the standard of local wine judging and this year was the first time an advanced course was offered, 14 of the top performing delegates to date gathering to examine the issues of the day and refine ideas of wine quality.
Held over 24 and 25 January at the Grand Roche in Paarl, those attending got to see how highly regarded local wines compared to international benchmarks. Meinert CWG Scholtzenhof Grande Chenin 2000 (the prototype of FMC) next to 2003, 1983 and 1973 Marc Bredif Vouvray for instance or Kanonkop Paul Sauer 1995 referenced against 1966, 1970, 1975, 1985, 1989 and 2003 Saint Estèphe second growth Cos d’Estournel.
A vital opportunity to debate issues of not only inherent worth but also style that simply doesn’t happen often enough.