John Platter South African Wines 2006: the guide to cellars, vineyards, winemakers, restaurants and accommodation (May 17, 2006)
by Dean Tudor
John Platter South African Wines 2006: the guide to cellars, vineyards, winemakers, restaurants and accommodation (The John Platter SA Wine Guide Ltd; distr. by Wines of South Africa Canadian Office, email@example.com, 416-698-8112, 603 pages, ISBN 0-9584506-4-1, $30CAD (includes shipping) hard cover) is the recognized authority on South African wines. It has been published for 26 years. For this latest edition, there are now 14 tasters all identified, and with initials after tasting notes. Some of the tasters have changed over the years. Some 5400 wines are here evaluated (800 are new to this edition), along with 72 new wineries. One-quarter of all top-ranking 5-star wines are now being made by mom-and-pop operations, a remarkable achievement. Even the large co-ops are making more credible, limited collections of superior wine.
The contents of the guide are straightforward: there are chapters on the wine industry, vintages and styles, touring (accommodation and food) all in sixty pages followed by some 460 pages of dictionary-arranged wineries, detailing most aspects. To quote, "Wines are entered under the name of the private producer, estate, co-operative winery or brand name of a merchant, and listed alphabetically. Entries feature some or all of: producer's name, address, phone/fax number, email address, website; wine name, colour and style, grape varieties, vintage, area of origin; selected recent awards and star ratings. Where applicable, other attractions to be enjoyed on the property, such as meals and accommodation, are highlighted." The book also has an indication of organic wines available for sale and sketch maps to show the location of all the wineries.
Audience and level of use: Lovers of South African wines, and those who collect regional evaluation guidebooks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Superquaffers include Fairview's Goats Do Roam White 2005.
What I don't like about this book (its shortcomings): There are a few ads to pay the bills, and this seems unavoidable.
What I do like about this book (its positives): The index at the front is by grape, so you can see at a glance what is the top performing pinotage, or cabernet sauvignon, or sparkler.
Quality/Price Rating: 95 The book has no competition, and it is put together very nicely as a package.