Platter’s South African Wines 2014, by Philip van Zyl

Platter’s South African Wines 2014, by Philip van Zyl. John Platter SA Wineguide (Pty) Ltd

Platter’s South African Wines 2014, by Philip van Zyl. John Platter SA Wineguide (Pty) Ltd

Everything you want to know about South African wine, Philip van Zyl brings to you with Platter’s South African Wines 2014, the favourite wine adviser.

Philip van Zyl  

Introduction to Platter’s South African Wines 2014

We last featured brandy and sherry-styles, wine's grape-derived sibling beverages, in the 1997/8 editions as a series of general notes written by Dave Hughes, an acknowledged expert on South African spirits and fortified wines, and sometime member of our wine-tasting team. This guide, the 34th, sees brandy and sherry-styles making a return in an expanded and higher-profile format, with comprehensive tasting notes and ratings incorporated into the A-Z listing of producers and their bottlings. We're delighted to welcome Dave back to the team as an adviser and constant reference to tasters and Cape Wine Masters Winnie Bowman, Tim James and Christine Rudman. The trio reviewed 62 brandies and grappa-styles, and 9 sherry-styles, and the fruits of their labours are listed under the producer entries on pages 15 to 523. By publishing the brandy and sherry notes alongside those for the wines, we're hoping to create a sense of discovery and excitement among our readers (Nederburg does brandy?! Who knew?), and hopefully prompt further exploration of South Africa's internationally acclaimed brandy and sherry-style offerings. See the notes about our tasting procedure and the main stylistic categories of brandy and sherry-styles on page 570. Speaking of welcome returns, we're very pleased to have up-and-comer Teddy Sambu back as photographer for the full-colour Photo Gallery. The young lensman debuted in these pages last edition under the mentorship of Cape Town artist and photographer Athol Moult with a series of images inspired by the general theme of the 2013 edition, namely 'Backstories'. See our Facebook page for an album of these portraits. The theme for this book is 'Rainbow Wine Nation' and in our opinion Teddy, final-year student at the Cape Town School of Photography and protege of the Imara Lightwarriors Initiative, has created a collection of truly memorable images. Regarding the tastings for this edition, our aim and approach have remained unchanged, namely to taste, rate and describe as many as possible South African-made wines available during the currency of the book, both locally and overseas. Much as we'd like to, the number of individual wines precludes us from re-tastlng/rating vintages which have been submitted previously yet will still be available for sale during the book's currency. Only wines which last year were reviewed as tank or barrel samples, and thus rated provisionally (or considered too young and unformed to rate), or wines we believe we may have miscalled last time, are revisited for the current book. New and previously untasted vintages are, of course, reviewed as normal. It bears repeating that the rankings reflected in the book are the result of a process beginning towards the end of June, when we mobilise our team of tasters. The results of their work are reflected in the A-Z section, along with news about the wineries and winemakers, general information about products, vindication facilities, vineyards, amenities available to visitors and more. (Scores for all wines in the A-Z are also listed separately for convenience in the section named 'This Year's Ratings Summarised' on page 527.) For visitors in search of wine-route information, we've incorporated GPS coordinates for as many as possible of the wineries open to the public at set hours or by appointment. The maps have again been fully updated, along with the quick-lookup tables which furnish key visitor information about the wineries of a particular area, such as whether or notthey ate open on weekends and public holidays, offer meals or refreshments, specifically cater for children, or are friendly to Individuals with reduced mobility. The maps and tables have been moved to the very back of the book, where hopefully they will be easier and quicker to find. Our initiative to provide professionally conducted audits of winetasting areas, cellar tours and other visitor facilities in the winelands in conjunction with accessibility specialist Disability Solutions Is highlighted on page 609. Also of interest to tourists and wine-ramblers are the Restaurants and Accommodation sections, featuring hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, delis and a plethora of other dining and unwinding venues among the wines. (...)

This is an excerpt from the introduction to Platter’s South African Wines 2014, by Philip van Zyl.

Title: Platter’s South African Wines 2014
Subtitle: The Guide to cellars, vineyards, winemakers, restaurants and accommodation
Editor: Philip van Zyl
Co-editor: Cathy van Zyl
Publisher: John Platter SA Wineguide (Pty) Ltd
34th edition, Hermanus, South Africa 2014
ISBN 9780987004628 / ISBN ISBN 978-0-9870046-2-8 (South Africa)
ISBN 9783941602830 / ISBN 978-3-941602-83-0 (Europe)
Hardcover, 11x20 cm, 648 pages, several map inserts, colour photos and tables

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