It’s a cliché which everyone in line for an Oscar/Emmy/Tony/Bafta or Brit award trots out when interviewed: “It’s an honour just to be nominated.” That’s the fallback position just in case they don’t win whatever gong they’re up for… I’d never really given that perspective much thought until participating in last week’s Platter 5 Star taste off. I think it genuinely IS an honour to be nominated, to be elevated above the rest of the crowd and be at least considered for higher honours.
As per usual in SA wine circles there has been some negative comment about the choices of wines put up for the Platter Guide’s ultimate accolade. A number of commentators have expressed disappointment about the lack of genuine stellar shiners, going on at length about the things they disliked about categories or adopting a tone of “what where they thinking?!” about their fellow tasters who nominated them.
I took a moment to consider that out of hundreds of wines in each category just three Methode Cap Classiques were considered, 10 Sauvignons Blanc, 11 Bordeaux-style white blends and 10 non-traditional white blends, 9 Chenins Blanc and 10 Chardonnay. On the red side, 8 Pinot Noir, 8 Pinotage, 4 Merlot, 12 non-traditional red blends and 14 Cape Bordeaux blends, 16 Shiraz, 6 Cabernets Sauvignon, 1 Cabernet Franc, 3 Ports, 1 muscadel, 2 natural sweets and a 9 unfortified desserts.
I don’t know what the final tally is going to be – all will be revealed in October when the best of the best will be presented at the WOSA tasting in London. My view on it is that, like everything in life, it’s all about perspective. Not coming first, second or third in an Olympic 100m final might mean that the other seven competitors walk away without a medal. On the face of it, they’ve failed – but they still have unbelievable bragging rights for even making it to the starting blocks! They know that they beat out hundreds, if not thousands, of other competitors for the right to compete and have a shot at glory. Any athlete would be proud to make it to that level! Any aspirant young runners or swimmers will regard them as heroes for being part of that final lineup. It’s still a story to tell the grandkids one day…
Look at the positives: white blends are a wonderfully strong category with 21 wines put up for consideration – and after all, that’s what it’s about: consideration. Did they all measure up? No. Appreciate that it’s a strong category that is evoking a great deal of interest and experimentation – as well as demonstrating good ability on the part of the winemakers. It’s a process and work in progress – but progression IS being made.
Anyone who said 10 or 15 years ago that almost as many Chenins would be considered for 5 Stars as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc – and that Chenin would outstrip “King” Cab for top honour consideration would have been ridiculed and roundly mocked! Yet it did. Red blends and Shiraz also demonstrated great potential.
Yes, it’s a case of ‘close, but no cigar’ for some, but those producers who were nominated for 5 Stars should take pride in the fact that they were considered. Celebrate it.