There is so much info – ratings on wines of the year, regional maps, grape variety details, wine shops (in South Africa), styles and vintages, wine tour companies, wine-focused restaurants, wine land accommodation – that the guide to deciphering the listings doesn’t appear till page 134!
Symbols for domain bottling, open for tastings, accommodation, other tourist attractions, picnic areas and disabled access ply for your attention with others showing if the wine is screwcapped, good value, organic and so on.
Take the Journey’s End wines reviewed yesterday; the level of data supplied is frightening. Platter’s Guide tells you that tastings are available by appointment, that the owner is the Gabb family, that the wine maker is Leon Esterhuizen (since January 2005), that the vineyard manager is Paul Fourie (since January 2008), that the estate has 30 hectares under vine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc), that 80% of production is red wine… exhausting…
But for anyone interested in touring the South African wine lands totally invaluable.
The guide gives the Journey’s End range high marks:
The Merlot four Stars “Mint & eucalyptus dominate green, herbal notes on 06; drier, tighter & less textured than savoury, elegant 05. 18mths oak, 30% new”
Chardonnay four stars plus “Smoky & earthy, subtle citrus highlights; richness from 9 months brl/lees-ageing lifted by zesty acidity, salty tail. 07 (four stars) similar to generous 06, perhaps less elegant; also natural ferm.”
Cabernet Sauvignon 3 stars Pepper & pimento on shy-fruited 05, with restrained tannins. Shiraz 2 stars plus Gamey forest floor aromas on muscular 05. Haystack chardonnay 3 stars plus Smoky toffee & pineapple aromas, 08 neat & compact, fresh and persistent, new-oak element well judged.
“Platter’s Wine Guide, South Africa’s leading wine annual and one of its best-selling book titles, turns 30 in November this year with the unveiling of the 2010 edition. To mark this significant milestone, we’re taking the guide’s traditional strengths – credibility, breadth of coverage, readability, ease of use – and combining these with fully revised, up-to-the-minute content designed to appeal to everyone, from the novice wine drinker to the connoisseur.”
John Platter’s Wine Guide is not available via amazon, but you can purchase direct from South Africa via the John Platter Wine Guide website. Price is $13.28 / €8.85 excluding shipping.