SA’s top wines on a Platter: annual guide brings the stars home

Lifestyle

SA’s top wines on a Platter: annual guide brings the stars home

The Platter wine guide’s highly commended list is a reliable companion for buyers

Michael Fridjhon

In a pre-Covid era, late October/early November would have seen the release of the annual Platter wine guide. The brainchild and creation of John and Erica Platter, it was first published in 1980, when the modern Cape wine industry was in its infancy. For a few years it recorded the details of the imported wines available in the local market (I used to contribute a portion of this section). Then, as the volume of wine available from SA wineries started to grow apace, it focused on Cape wine.

If you make a pile of the first four editions of the guide and stand them alongside the 2020 book, they come to roughly the same height: this gives a good indication of how the universe has expanded in 40 years.

The Platters managed most of the work for the first decade, and then roped in a few extra palates as the tasting burden increased. Initially these included Angela Lloyd, who still works on the guide, and me. The editing was done entirely by Erica, who bore the bulk of pressure as the tasting notes rolled in and the print deadline loomed. By the mid-1990s they had tired of the routine and stress, and sold the publication to Andrew McDowell, who in turn sold it to Diners Club in about 2013...

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