Founder of wine-pages.com Tom Cannavan was one of the three international judges at this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. In a wide-ranging interview, I asked him about “burnt rubber”, the term coined by UK wine journalist Jane MacQuitty in 2007 to describe the unpleasant aromas supposedly unique to South African reds. “I never really got it,” he says. “Some wines appeared a little smoky but not acrid”.
“The wine world is full of lazy stereotypes. Descriptors get used which are 10 to 15 years out of date. People latch onto key phrases or terminology in order to sound knowledgeable. Aussie Chardonnay, for instance, is still tarnished as being overwooded despite the wines now being much more elegant”.
Cannavan is not however advocating that producers adopt an attitude of righteous indignation. “These sorts of issue remain alive in the mind of the public and the only way to address them is to tackle them head on.” His advice is to keep on showing the wines to the relevant opinion makers. “Attitudes can be changed in a relatively short space of time”.
Results of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show will be live on this blog late in the afternoon of Wednesday 30 May.