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The Big 5 Tasting and a grumpy email

By , 19 November 2010



I’m totally stoked to tell you that I will be attending the Big Five Tasting on behalf of Wine magazine. This event, set to take place on 11 December, is organised by Jörg Pfützner of Fine Wine Events and sees five South African wines compared to some very eminent French counterparts.

Wines involved include: Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc vs. Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé; Vergelegen White vs. Laville Haut Brion Blanc; Raats Family Cabernet Franc vs. Château Cheval Blanc; Kanonkop Paul Sauer vs. Château Mouton Rothschild and Sadie Family Wines Columella vs. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Meal (four to five vintages shown in each case). There are only 20 places per module and the price to attend all five modules is R4990. Bad news if you’re thinking of going – Pfützner relates that it took no more than 20 minutes after communicating with his database for the event to be sold out.

Here is one of the responses received:

Hi there

This was forwarded to me by a friend who thought we might like to attend. I am very glad you state that you will attempt to compare the differences or similarities in these wines. We find it quite laughable that you think you could find any similarities. 50 million people around the world agree that Mouton Rothschild is one of the best wines in the world and I recently drank a bottle of Mouton Rothschild 1959 from my collection. It is interesting to note that you are not putting a very old vintage Mouton up against a very old vintage Kanonkop…we wonder why. It is also interesting to note the companies out there that show their ignorance in wine through events such as this. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.

No we shan’t be attending as we, along with 50 million other people in the world, already know the answer…

Name withheld.

Please let us know what to make of it.


10 comment(s)

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    Kwispedoor | 25 November 2010

    Spot on, Glenn – if someone opens an old bottle of Kanonkop Paul Sauer or an old Cape Point Semillon or a nicely matured De Krans Vintage Reserve Port, I’ll be unable to contain my excitement. And that’s ok. Of course there’s merit to both blind and sighted tasting. Two simple examples:
    1. I’ve tasted a ‘golfer’s wine’ – their new release flagship red – recently. The wine was infected with brett and it spoiled the otherwise good wine. Not even close to being worth it’s price. But, likely being influenced by the status and hefty price of the wine, Platter’s still gave it four stars… A mistake, in my opinion.
    2. Cape Point’s Isleidh took one Platter’s edition to move from 3,5 stars to 5 stars. They obviously realised that the great stuff is often a bit numb in it’s youth and reveals its brilliance with time. Tasting it sighted, they’re not likely to score an Isleidh 3,5 stars again if it’s a bit closed in its youth – and rightly so.

    Glenn | 25 November 2010

    kwispedoor – I guess it’s the same with wine though. I am the first to admit that I could probably not correctly guess any wine that I tasted blind. I may get the cultivar right but I’d never guess the actual wine. I’m pretty sure I would enjoy different wine if tasted them blind. In some cases I’m sure I’m enjoying the wine simply becauses it’s a big brand name. But hey I enjoy it anyway.

    Kwispedoor | 25 November 2010

    @Glenn: Ha-ha! Yes, it was quite funny to see all these confident guys getting more and more confused as the tasting progressed. Apart from one dude: after the second beer, he announced that he’d found his beloved Castle and will not even taste the rest, as he’d found the best one. So he continued drinking beer #2, while the rest of us finished the tasting. It transpired that his beloved Castle was beer #4 (which he didn’t even taste) and that the one he liked so much (#2) was Hansa.
    So, what did I catch him drinking the next weekend? Castle. Even after he proved to himself that he liked the Hansa more. Fuel to my theory that by far most (not all) beer drinkers drink the idea/vibe behind a brand – it’s got little to do with taste. No wonder SAB’s marketing budget is so massive – it works!

    Attie | 24 November 2010

    Dammit, that sounds nice – enjoy Christian!! I would love for our SA wines to kick the Frenchies’ beeeehinds…

    Glenn | 23 November 2010

    Hi Kwispedoor. You say you put your buddies to a blind beer tasting. We did the same a few years back. Everyone swore that they only drank one beer and that they’d drink nothing else and that they could identify their beer out of all the others. So we got about 6 beers and asked the guys to taste them blind. If I remember correctly only 1 of the 5 guys correctly identified “his beer of choice” It was so funny to see all these beer guru’s get it wrong and not pick up there own beer.

    Tobias | 22 November 2010

    What a thoroughly unenviable attitude towards wine.

    Kwispedoor | 20 November 2010

    Bloody hell, but I’m poor! I’m not even one of the 50 million people able to afford enough old Mouton Rothschild to have a definitive, stone-set opinion. Must make more money. Fast.

    Many years ago a buddy swore that his beer of choice was the best around. I put him and his beer on a blind tasting and he was absolutely clueless. Blind tastings are not only fun, but also really educational and humbling. Well, for most people…

    Bruwer | 20 November 2010

    Ignorance is bliss apply more to the person that said it than to the poeple having the event.

    Michael Olivier | 19 November 2010

    Let it run off your back like a duck’s water!

    TLM | 19 November 2010

    so quick to juge and a tad closed minded, Perhaps a bit of a down fall for Mr name withheld how can we learn and grow with this attitude…..well more for us curious cats willing to risk disappoint ment and dare I say euphoria from a different aproach to wine. So if 50 million people sick their head in a fire, are you going to?
    Have fun Christion, Im So Jealous

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