• Save
 

Wine its a matter of taste

on

  • 335 views

THERE is an extraordinary disconnect between the reputation of a grape variety and the actual taste in the glass. A considerable number of wine drinkers still refuse to sample a Chenin Blanc because ...

THERE is an extraordinary disconnect between the reputation of a grape variety and the actual taste in the glass. A considerable number of wine drinkers still refuse to sample a Chenin Blanc because of the cultivar’s tarnished reputation from decades of co-op plonk production.

Statistics

Views

Total Views
335
Views on SlideShare
335
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft Word

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Wine its a matter of taste Wine its a matter of taste Document Transcript

  • THERE is an extraordinary disconnect between the reputation of a grape variety and theactual taste in the glass. A considerable number of wine drinkers still refuse to sample aChenin Blanc because of the cultivar’s tarnished reputation from decades of co-op plonkproduction. It doesn’t matter that for the past 10 years it has been virtually impossible
  • to find one of those easy-drinking, soft, guava-fruited wines. Nowadays those in theknow count Cape Chenin among the country’s vinous Big Five. Nevertheless,reputational damage has a way of outliving the offence that engendered it.The converse is also true. Merlot is one of the most popular varieties and the cultivar ofchoice for many red-wine drinkers. Supermarkets and wine shops report that thecategory continues to show growth despite the bad press it has received for many years.It seems that wine drinkers are either not reading what is being said about the country’sMerlot-based wines, or else they are not tasting what comes out of the bottle the sameway the critics and wine judges approach it.At this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, the Merlot class not only failed to yield asingle gold medal: there wasn’t even one silver medal from 40–50 submissions. Therehave been years when Merlot goes without a trophy or a gold, but this — as far as I cantell — is the first time bronze has been the best yield in the line-up.Why are the professionals so clearly at odds with the punters? It is tempting to arguethat they fail to appreciate the qualities that have given Merlot its worldwide reputationas a source of easy-drinking red wine. On the basis of this argument, the judges despiseexactly those features consumers love.Too proud to admit they like its plush sweet fruit and soft velour-like tannins, the winegeeks have followed the line of the movie Sideways in denigrating the variety because ofits supposed simplicity, popularity and lack of complexity.Except that this is not the case. When you actually taste Cape Merlot, you quicklydiscover that it bears no resemblance to the Californian red wine of popular perception.In fact, most South African Merlot-based reds are thin and weedy, with austere greentannins and a finish akin to a short skid down one of Gauteng’s potholed main roads. Onthe other hand, ask a Merlot drinker why he has made it the red-wine cultivar of choiceand the reply is likely to be: "It’s so easy drinking, and so smooth."In other words, the reputation of Merlot as a velvet-textured soft red wine continues tosell bottle after bottle — despite the absence of these features in most of the winesavailable in the trade at present.It’s not that the serious producers are unaware of the problem. Luca Bein, whoseeponymous estate consistently makes one of the Cape’s best Merlots, has beenmanaging an informal group of growers and wine makers in an organisation called the
  • Merlot Forum as they investigate what they can do to up their game. They have alsonoted the comments of foreign judges and viticulturists who have suggested we havethe wrong clonal material, and that many of the vineyards are incorrectly sited.Neither of these observations — if substantiated by their research — are susceptible toquick or easy fixes. Getting sufficient quantities of suitable planting material is not anovernight matter, and replacing vineyards takes time — and costs at least R250,000 ahectare. Then there’s the small matter of site: if you shouldn’t have Merlot growing onyour property, short of grubbing up productive vineyards, there’s very little you can doabout things.