Sixty pinks down this morning, which leaves another thirty-odd for tomorrow. Who would have though the category was so big? This was the first public appearance of the Pink Panel which is taking a look at SA rosés and blancs de noir for Classic Wine magazine, the leading Bacchanalian organ in SA. Here is the panel before start of play at Panniers, Airport City, this morning.
Hats off to Dominic Ntsele, the amiable emminence noir behind an initiative which, although barely one year old, is showing the rest of the SA wine industry how it’s done. Producers should compare and contrast Dom’s category tastings with offerings bankrolled by Old Mutual, ABSA, FNB and other bankster organizations. Ten points of difference:
1. No entrance fees.
2. Only two bottles of wine requested for tastings.
3. Award winning wines purchased for award functions.
4. No fee to attend awards functions.
5. No wine media invited to awards functions – no free lunches!
6. Über-bling coverage in one of the classiest dead-tree magazines left in Exclusives that also gets circulated to Investec clients and MTN chatter boxes.
7. Full page glossy ads to get Gary Cotterell all wet and wanted.
8. Payment for judges plus a roast chicken and salad lunch from Woolies; mince pies (Woolies again) with filter coffee during breaks.
9. Witty and down-to-earth tasting notes generated by the panel. No linear capsicums here!
10. Representative tasters. The Pinksters include a former exotic dancer for Richard Loring turned Swartland Revolution chef; a Melville domiciled lecturer at the Cape Wine Academy; a flying garagiste winemaker and an opera reviewer for City Press.
Why do producers even bother with the expensive competition’s competitions? Tastings are audited and this one was so blind, we didn’t even know the vintage or whether a wine was blanc de blanc or rosé.
Disclosure: the author was chair of the Pink Panel.