A debate I’ve had among my colleagues tasting for Platter’s 2012 concerns the merits of tasting by category versus those of tasting by producer.
Tasting by category allows the taster to assess technical elaboration: consider half a dozen examples of Cabernet Sauvignon for instance by comparing one to the other, you’re able to discern relatively easy which producers exercised better viticulture and winemaking.
However, I tend to favour tasting by producer, allowing one wine in a particular range to be seen in the context of its stable mates. That way, it’s easier to discern a winemaker’s particular aesthetic vision and even the impact of terroir in those rare cases where site truly makes a difference to the outcome of the winemaking endeavour.
Bordeaux-style red blend Paul Sauer 2008 from the Simonsberg ward in Stellenbosch in relation to a similarly styled wine from an entirely different district was perplexing, appearing very good but unusually delicate. However, when looking at all the wines of Kanonkop together, it suddenly revealed itself to be the yin to the yang of the property’s Cabernet Sauvignon, and to taste the one in isolation of the other was to only partially understand what both are about.