John Platter South African Wine Guide 2003
reviewed by Dean Tudor (March 12, 2003)
John Platter South African Wine Guide 2003 (Capetown, Newsome
McDowell, 2003, 520 pages, ISBN 0-9584506-1-7, $17CDN through Laurel Keenan
is subtitled "the guide to cellars, vineyards, winemakers, restaurants,
and accomodation." It has been published for 20 years. For this latest
edition, there are now 12 tasters all identified, and with initials
after tasting notes.
Some 4000 wines are here evaluated (512 are new to this edition), along
with 44 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
The contents of the guide are straightforward: there are chapters on
the wine industry, vintages and styles, touring (accommodation and food)
all in seventy pages followed by some 400 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 accomodation, are highlighted."
The book also has an indication of organic wines available for sale and
sketch maps to show all winery locations.
What I don't like about this book: there are a few ads to pay
the bills, and this seems unavoidable.
What I do like about this book: the index is by subject, so you
can see at a glance what is the top performing pinotage, or cabernet sauvignon,
QPR rating: 98 the book has no competition, and it is put
together very nicely as a package.