The launch of the latest edition of the Platter’s Wine Guide took place last week at the Devon Valley Hotel. A host of the great and good of South African wine circles, including yours truly, assembled to eat the hugest, most inelegant canapés I have ever seen, drink Villiera Tradition (always a pleasure) and sample the 41 Five Star wines. Oh, and find out who had been awarded Winery of the Year (Sadie Family Wines – no surprises there then!) and Superquaffer of the Year (Villiera Chenin Blanc) as well.
Platter’s Guide has now been going an incredible 30 years and so the foreword this year is by the originators of the guide – John and Erica Platter. For a book originally termed as ‘boring’, ‘out of date before it’s even printed’ and a ‘waste of time and money’, it’s actually done rather well for itself, and now, is ready for the next step of being available as a mobile version on Apple iPhone and iPod Touch – an exciting and necessary development if ever there was one. In amongst all the arguments for and against a guide such as Platter’s, all I can say is that I wouldn’t be without one in terms of the volume of information available in one place. And since I can look up entries quicker on paper than my ancient laptop can whirr and clank its way to find websites, this is hugely important to me.
However, for all that I find it indispensible right now, there will certainly come a time when none of us will be lugging hardback books around with us as we visit the winelands. Which is precisely why the iPhone application is the real 5 star of the show. Packed with everything you could ever want to know about wine and a whole lot more besides, it is quick and easy and immensely portable – surely the way that all guides will have to go soon.
But one thing you will never be able to look up on an iPhone is the tastes and flavours of actual, real, live bottles of wine. For what it’s worth, my Superstars from the 5 star wines were - Rustenberg Stellenbosch Syrah, Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon, Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage, Woolworths Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Reserve, Ataraxia Chardonnay and, best wine of the day, Sadie Family Columella. But don’t take my word for it – go out and try them for yourselves! Good hunting!