John Platter’s name is synonymous with the wine industry, having created the Platter’s Wine Guide 36 years ago with wife Erica. His surname is still linked to the Guide by name, even though he has sold the Guide. Launching a new book, it was obvious that it would have something to do with wine. ‘My Kind of Wine‘ is such a book, launched at Wine Cellar this evening.
I arrived late, getting completely lost despite Google Maps, struggling to find the very hidden Wine Cellar belonging to Roland Peens and James Pietersen. The launch was in the tasting room of the wine distribution company. I therefore missed John’s speech, but Erica gave me a copy of the book, so that I can find what he had to say in summary. What Erica told me was that John said that it is ‘an extraordinary time in Cape Wine’. His book salutes winemakers, especially those that have made fantastic and unusual wines, often recommended by others, or ‘following my nose‘.
Platter praises Cape Wines, writing eloquently that they are in ‘flamboyant ferment’. He refers specifically to the range of ‘gorgeous’ Chenin Blancs; old vine Grenache is ‘the stuff of goose pimples’; Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay have improved; and Cinsaut and Clairette Blanche receive praise too.
Lower alcohol levels; lighter, fresher, and informal wines; and organic and biodiversity are some of the trends Platter identifies.
The bulk of the book is dedicated to 27 wine varietals, but Platter builds a story around each to link winemakers having success with specific varietals. Self-confessed that Cabernet Franc is his favorite, Platter opens the book with it, and he weaves Warwick, Keermont, Raats, De Tafford, Anthonij Rupert, Cape Chamonix, Oldenburg, Rainbow’s End, and Stellenrust into the stories relating to this varietal.
Winemakers who are profiled include Warwick’s Nic van Aarde, Bruwer Raats, Thelema’s Gyles Webb, Johan Malan of Simonsig, Delaire Graff’s Morné Frey, Andre van Rensburg of Vergelegen, Etienne Le Riche, Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck, Jean-Vincent Ridon of Signal Hill, Jean-Philippe Colmant, Chris Williams of Meerlust, Gordon and Nadia Johnson of Newton Johnson, Gottfried Mocke (formerly of Cape Chamonix and now at Boekenhoutskloof), Carl van der Merwe at DeMorgenzon, Anthony Hamilton Russell, Peter-Allan Finlayson of Gabrielskloof, Richard Kershaw, Ken Forrester, David and Nadia Sadie, Chris Alheit, Gary and Kathy Jordan, Jan Boland Coetzee of Vriesenhof, Charles Back of Spice Route, Neil Ellis, Jeff Grier of Villiera, John Loubser of Steenberg, Beyers Truter of Beyerskloof, Andrew Gunn of Iona, Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst, Kevin Arnold of Waterford, Chris Keet, Koen Roose-Vandenbroucke of Spioenkop, Paul Cluver, Matt Day of Klein Constantia, Chris and Andrea Mullineux, Callie Louw of Porseleinberg, Carl Schultz of Hartenberg, Johan Reyneke, Ian Smorthwaite from Abingdon Estate, Donovan Rall, and Abrie Bruwer of Springfield. Viticulture consulant Rosa Kruger is also profiled.
Platter devotes a chapter to wine issues, including levels of alcohol, blind versus sighted tastings, bush vines, corks and screw caps, food and wine pairing, glassware, natural wine, malolactic fermentation, organic wines, reduced wines, single vineyard wines, terroir, sulphur, tasting terminology, and more. The book concludes with special recipes shared by wine estates, many of which have restaurants, some with our country’s best chefs.
Erica Platter herself has written a number of books, including her latest ‘Durban Curry’. She is the editor of John’s book, while the beautiful photographs were taken by Clinton Friedman.
‘My Kind of Wine‘, John Platter. PawPaw Publishing. www.pawpawpublishing.com. 2015. R370
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here