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Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2012: Tom Cannavan on SA reds and “burnt rubber”

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Tom Cannavan of wine-pages.com

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 Descriptors get used which are 10 to 15 years out of date.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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Very diplomatically put. He’s quite correct about changing attitudes. Pinotage being one example of a subject universally derided not too long ago and slowly but surely rave reviews crop up by writers you wouldn’t have expected it half a decade ago. However, that was not as a result of waiting out the storm, but listening and acting upon. As someone who also suffered from the much abused “SA cellar palate syndrome” in my forming wine years, I really worry that we try to sweep the burnt rubber issue under the carpet with just a tad too much ease.

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