Don’t judge a bottle by its price tag


Don’t judge a bottle by its price tag

How some local wines fare in a blind tasting and whether they hold up to their price

Michael Fridjhon

When it comes to quality wine, informed consumers often divide on a fault line, which has more to do with what they know about the producers than the actual taste of the wine. If the operation is run on what appears to be the vinous equivalent of the smell of an oil rag (the whiff of old wood perhaps?), then those who favour the underdog and think “low cash resources equal craft” automatically gravitate towards it.

Of course, those who hold that premium product doesn’t exist without a significant investment through the whole value chain, from soil preparation right up to the packaging, take an opposite view. They have in common more faith in the backstory than in the contents of the glass.

My position is agnostic. Some of the Cape’s best wines have been made with very little money, though this has usually been achieved because some of the key components are not properly valued (or are simply unsustainable). The Marras Chenin and Marras Grenache are vastly underpriced, but that is because Martin Lamprecht discounts the value of his own expertise and buys fruit from vineyards whose planting costs have been written off aeons ago...

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