The importance of reading tasting notes

November 15, 2013
by Christian
in Opinion & Analysis
with 3 Comments
All things are relative.

All things are relative.

Yesterday during pizza with friends two contrasting wines, the first being Tobias Red 2012 and the second Jordan Cape Winemakers Guild Sophia 2007.

The Tobias is a blend of Mourvedre, Shiraz and Cinsaut from the Swartland-based Bryan MacRobert and has an approximate retail price of R90 a bottle and the Jordan from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot made by esteemed Stellenbosch winemaker Gary Jordan and a wine which fetched an average case price of R3 275.56 (the equivalent of R546 a bottle) at the 2009 CWG auction.

Scores for the wines? 85 on the 100-point scale for the Tobias and 87 for the Jordan but that’s not nearly the half of it.

The Tobias was characterful and appealing with sweet red fruit offset by a slight stalky quality. The Jordan was much more imposing with dark fruit, fresh and dried herbs, a slight tomato cocktail quality. More full bodied with fresh acidity and fine but grippy tannins. In pure numerical terms, the “better” wine but the Tobias was much more suited to the occasion. Tasting notes are difficult to write and often tedious to read but the devil’s in the detail.

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  1. KwispedoorNovember 16, 2013 at 1:24 pmReply

    Fair point, Harry. I really like old wine and I also find pleasure in maturing wine until it’s at optimum drinking (not the same thing for all people, I’ll admit). Then, it’s also fun to play a bit of Russian Roulette with extended cellaring from time to time. Something like the Mount Abora Saffraan 2012 will test my self-control in this respect, as the wine must be my favourite red summer quaffer right now. At 12% ABV, a bottle disappears faster than government funds but it’s far from a simple wine, though. I think, although the Tobias has a curious lightness and elegance to it, it’s certainly more full-bodied and will only benefit from some secondary development. That 2012 is still soooooo young…

  2. HarryNovember 16, 2013 at 12:34 pmReply

    I’m not sure we’re guilty of infanticide with the Tobias. Sure it has time to go, but I get massive pleasure from its youthfulness.

  3. KwispedoorNovember 15, 2013 at 6:42 pmReply

    Looking past the infanticide here (both wines), I think I would rate them higher (in a parallel universe where I’d care about one or all of the “100-point” scoring systems), especially the Sophia. :-)

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