If you have even the slightest interest in South Africa and its wines, you will be delighted to learn that the John Platter South African Wine Guide - unquestionably the nation's best and most useful wine-tasting resource - is now available in a full online edition.
In the past I have had to rely on the generosity of wine-loving South African friends to send me Platter by surface mail. Now the wealth of information in this useful pocket-size guide is available free online at
Winner of the 2001 Prix du Champagne Lanson award as Best Annual Wine Guide, Platter is in its 22nd year of annual publication. Champagne Lanson President Marie-Laurence Mora said it took first place because it is "compact, clear and concise with reliable information and opinions - a really good reference book - the essential guide to South African wines."
The Website fulfills the hard-copy book's promise, offering searchable access to wineries, wine makers, growing regions, grape varieties, wine terms, wine maps, wine-and-food-matching suggestions and information about touring and places to stay and dine in the Cape Winelands.
Built and hosted by online wine merchants Cybercellar, the online guide requires registration (only the user's first name and E-mail address is required), but there is no charge for online access at this time. The published edition may be purchased online, and the sponsors hold open the possibility that future editions may require a subscription fee. However, Publisher Andrew McDowall said, "No final decision has been made."
I found site response just a bit slow this morning - the many "hops" an Internet packet must take between South Africa and the U.S. may account for that - but it's well worth the wait.
Featured wines, when available, may also be ordered online through Cybercellar, a relatively trivial process for readers in much of the world; U.S. customers, however, must arrange to have wines shipped via a licensed wine broker.
Even with this limitation, I'm looking forward to browsing the Platter site regularly, perhaps with a glass of South African wine in hand ... I'm delighted to see that the pricey Kanonkop 1997 Paul Sauer red blend that I've been hoarding received its top five-star rating.
Platter wins MY top rating:
Fellow wine lover,
First of all, our latest online wine auction is up and running on
This month, there is a large assortment of odds, ends, and goodies available for your bidding pleasure!
Second of all, our first Los Angeles auction of the year is this weekend at the Beverly Hills Peninsula (April 5-6). It is a spectacular sale, with over $2 million worth of wines available. Don't forget to get those absentee bids in early, and East Coast buyers remember that it is only $12 per case to get your wine to our East Coast warehouse! If you want to bid through the website, make sure you use the "Bid Live Auction" button on the auction page. Also, while the La Tache dinner on Thursday is sold out (sorry), there are still a few spots available for both the auction tasting on Friday night as well as the BYOB spectacular on Saturday ... don't wait to sign up!
Those of you in the Los Angeles area the weekend of April 26 could be in for a treat. The most comprehensive retrospective of the 1982 Bordeaux vintage is taking place over 3 days at some of LA's top restaraunts courtesy of Bipin Desai. Ninety-two wines including EVERY great wine of the vintage will be featured in this historical weekend. On Friday night, the focus will be on the wines from Margaux, St. Julien, St. Estephe, and Haut-Medoc ... on Saturday afternoon we will experience Pauillac and Graves, and on Sunday afternoon, of course, Pomerol and St. Emilion. You can come to one or come to all. There are a limited number of seats available, so do not hesitate to join us! Contact us ASAP via the Website for further details.
Those of you in the selling mood, we are now accepting wines for our May Internet and June NY live auction. The deadlines are April 27 and May 16 accordingly.
We hope that some of this month's offerings find a new home in yours and wish you all continued success.
President & Auction Director
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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
Tuesday, April 2, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.