“Platter’s is not a bad idea” says Kobus Deetlefs “but it is not fair to producers and it is not fair to wine consumers. If I do not believe in a thing, I can’t go for it.” Detleefs was commenting on his decision to join the growing ranks of the salon de refusés – producers who refuse to submit wines for the annual Platter’s wine guide.
While Platter’s pundits may attempt to smear producers who withdraw as not producing wines worthy of inclusion in the guide, this will clearly not wash in the case of this producer from the Breedekloof appellation. Last year, Deetlefs won the trophy for best performing winery at the SA Airways wine selection while last week their White Blend 2006 won a gold medal at the Classic Wine Trophy Show – an idiosyncratic competition judged by a panel of exclusively French judges, now in its 10th outing.
While Spar pulled out of Platter’s citing demonstrable prejudice against supermarket brands, Deetlefs suffers from a prejudice of perception as the Breedekloof appellation is firmly on the wrong side of the mountain. As tasting for the guide is done sighted, while he is careful to not attack the integrity of the judges, Deetlefs does insist that Breedekloof “suffers from a problem of perception. We have a few large producers” he continues “instead of a lot of small boutique wineries as is the case in Stellenbosch. As a result, our image is wrong. If our wines were tasted blind” he continues “I’d certainly like to be included in the guide. All I’m asking for is a level playing field.”
Deetlef’s position is certainly worth considering as the guide boxes economically well above its weight. “80% of restaurant wine lists use Platter ratings” he continues “and people don’t believe in their own ability to taste for themselves anymore. Wine is becoming too complicated for the general public.”
Well done, Kobus. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for your wines in future. The SA wine writing industry seems to have the ethics of a tom cat.
Great stuff so lets do a one day blind tasting of the roughly 6000 wines available in SA.
I am sure that we would have very different results.
My biggest problem with Platter is their consistency. eg 2001 = 3 star if 2002 deserves a 5 it will get 3.5 or 4. then if the 2003 deserves a 5 it will move towards 5.
Conversely once a 5 it struggles to go down.
A “good winery” will get all 4s on a consistent basis, even a Meerlust Red will get an equivalent to a Rubicon – even though the wine maker marked it down.
Use it as a reference, not an encyclopedia