The Platter’s Wine Guide is not opposed to blind tasting as a wine evaluating method. This is according to the Philip van Zyl the editor of the popular South African Platter’s Wine Guide.
Van Zyl made these remarks at the Platter’s Open Discussion Forum which was held in Somerset West on Thursday 16 April. This forum was initiated by the editor and publishers of the Platter guide after its tasting methods, objectiveness and transparency came under public scrutiny by wine writers, especially from Neil Pendock. The public interests were immense as more than 220 delegates from the SA wine industry attended the forum.
Van Zyl said that the guide will publish its 30th edition next year and with more than 1.25 million copies sold the guide has definitely become part and parcel of the South African wine industry.
Van Zyl indicated that transparency, openness and honesty are very important to the Platter guide and that the forum was initiated to inform and to get the response from the public.
With reference to the blind versus sighted tasting aspects, Van Zyl differentiated between sighted, blind and double blind tasting methods. Van Zyl elaborated on their Multi-Stage tasting process and that continuity and consistency play a very important role in their evaluating and reporting process. The guide will continue be of a consumer advisory publication and sighted tasting will remain the main tasting method for future publications.
The Platter guide will taste close to 6500 wines for the next edition. This vast amount of wines causes practical and logistical constrains and that is one of the reasons why blind tasting methods can not be exclusively used to evaluate the wines.
Van Zyl added that the guide is not against blind tasting as an evaluation method. He indicated that the guide uses blind and double blind tasting in certain cases to confirm their results. The potential Five-star and Super-quaffer wines are all tasted blind and this implies that hundreds of wines are annually tasted blind.
I think that the huge turnout confirmed the importance and popularity of this guide and their mythologies. This guide will remain the benchmark of SA wine evaluations and consumer will still trust and act on the recommendations.