Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Don't import South African vines

For years I've tasted burnt rubber in some South African red wines. I get it mainly in Pinotage but sometimes in Shiraz and other wines as well.

I haven't written about it because I've never written a major South African wine article. I just believed I'm not a Pinotage fan.

Then the New York Times came out with an article this week revealing that there's a market backlash in the UK against South African wines for this distinctive burnt rubber aroma. Meanwhile, some South Africans deny there's a problem. Does this remind anyone of the '80s and the sudden proliferation of TCA?

Just in case, other grape growing nations should take a lesson from phylloxera and consider import controls on live vines and plant materials from South Africa. Maybe the aroma comes from something unique to that country. But the rest of the wine world needs to make sure whatever it is, doesn't spread.

1 comment:

guren said...

I read this article just before a friend went on his annual vacation to South Africa. He always raves about South Africa wines and he offered to buy wine for his friends. I mentioned this article and he and his wife visited the winery, which happened to be close to where they were staying. They loved the wines and I ordered half a case each of the cab and a syrah for a total price of around $300 including shipping. Unfortunately it takes around 3 months for shipping and I still haven't received them yet. I will let you know if I notice any burnt rubber taste when I finally get a chance to try them.