“Swimming pool wine” critiqued

By , 17 December 2013



Best of a bad bunch.

Best of a bad bunch.

Yesterday a selection of entry-level white wines sampled literally by the pool. the line-up consisting of Doolhof Cape Crane Chenin Blanc 2013 at R41 a bottle, Neethlingshof Chardonnay (Unwooded) 2013 at R53, Neethlingshof Chenin Blanc 2013 at R46 and Place in the Sun Chardonnay (Unwooded) 2013 at R36.

I’m quite sure international commentator Robert Joseph is right when he tweets that “Wine pros r far too focused on pleasing themselves rather than consumers” but this was uninspiring stuff.

In terms of understanding mass-market wine, Joseph has also come up with the classification of “Fruits, Newts and Cutes” with “Fruits” being overtly fruity wines like Moscato, “Newts” being deliberately neutral wines made from Pinot Grigio or other favourless grapes and “Cutes” being off-dry wines usually female focused.

Though the Neethlingshof Chenin Blanc was not entirely without redeeming character (plenty of stone fruit if no great nuance), these were a benchmark collection of “Newts”, which is to say wine for the uninitiated, wine for those who wish to consume without contemplation, wine perhaps for those who don’t really like the taste of wine.

The commercial success of these wines surely doesn’t depend on my review but I do find it more than a little depressing that such wines exist as it implies that many really would prefer to settle for less. Please help me prove this line of thinking wrong and make sure you always have something interesting in your glass this summer.


4 comment(s)

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    Eamon McLoughlin | 18 December 2013

    KWV Classic Chenin 2013. R38. Available countrywide. Michelangelo Gold. A little stunner.

    Grant | 18 December 2013

    But the bigger issue is surely how selling wine at $3-60 and $4-00 a bottle ( retail) is going to allow a sustainable industry to evolve in SA? Particularly when the wines come from small to medium sized producers who lack the economy of scale to keep production costs down. Everyone is doing their best to make it work in an extremely difficult market, but seeing these sort of prices makes you wince.

    Kwispedoor | 17 December 2013

    Problem is, Hennie, that the beer at that party will probably reflect the wine choice (Castle, Castle Lite, etc.)… If a guy serves Tall Horse Merlot around the pool, you’re not likely to get craft beer or something made by Belgian monks.

    I’ve always failed to see how KW (kak wine) seems to suit the swimming pool for so many people. To me, KW tastes bad wherever you taste it. Sure, I won’t drag a big old Cabernet from the cellar to have next to the pool on a sweltering day, but that’s an occasion to drink good MCC or white wine, fruity chilled Pinot Noir or a Saffraan. Not KW.

    Hennie @ Batonage | 17 December 2013

    Whenever I am put in a position where someone serves me wine from this swimming pool stable I fall back on the old adage “Life is too short to drink boring or bad wine”. I always politely decline the offer of said wine and rather have a beer.

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