A refreshing new wine tourism book Exploring the Cape Winelands of South Africa: scenic day routes to the 101 best wineries by Dr. Doris Jansen and Dr. Kay Muir-Leresche who live in the USA except between January and March when they decamp to Rooi Els on the Cape South Coast. Long distance swallows advising tourists where to spit and swallow. Rooi Els is close to Pringle Bay where the Platter editor and his taster have a holiday home. Although when it came to choosing the 101 best wineries in SA, their picks could not be further from perceived Platter wisdom.
For no sign of the Platter Winery of the Year fashionable Mullineux Family Wines, nor indeed any producer in the Swartland. Sorry for you, Eben, Adi, Craig, Callie and Marc. Also no sign of Cederberg Private Cellar which tied with the Mullies at four five star stunners but lacked an Indian genii in a bottle who recently bought three farms in Franschhoek where the awards are determined (according to conspiracy theorists). Hard to believe, I must say.
Hermanus was visited, but no Newton Johnson who made Plattana’s best red nor La Vierge who make the sexiest Pinot Noir in SA IMHO. Nothing at all from Darling, Breedekloof, Bot River, Robertson, Worcester (which produced the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year on Saturday) nor the Olifants River, Tulbagh, Southern Cape nor Klein Karoo. Nothing from Wellington. No L’Ormarins nor Anthonij Rupert in spite of the huge confidence in that brand from the Wine Spectator.
So where do the wineries come from? Over half are from Stellenbosch with Franschhoek #2. But forget about outmoded concepts like the Simonsberg, Helderberg, Jonkershoek, Bottelary Hills, Stellenboschkloof etc. The Bosch is divided, compass-like, into north, south, east and west Stellenbosch just like Hollywood. The style of the text is easy breezy – none of this tortured drivel from the likes of Dr. No, the Wine Lizard and other constipated wine anoraks with teeth, hair and feet issues.
The authors wrote their guide because “we couldn’t find a photographically attractive guide that allowed us to plan enjoyable days in the wine country. Most of the tourist guides are crowded with advertising.” What an indictment of SA wine hackery. Is this why Johann Rupert is making a R2.3 billion bid for 40% of Caxtons publishing? Could there be a new wine magazine and Platter guide on the horizon? Is the Reg Lascaris/Diners Club cosy monopoly about to be challenged?