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Meerlust, Stellenbosch, SA
The importance of wines such as Meerlust Rubicon should not be overlooked as milestones in the developing history of South African wine. First made in 1980, it essentially set the pattern for Bordeaux blends in the country.
Like the best Bordeaux wines, the 2016, certainly has ageing potential. However, it is drinking so beautifully now that I suspect people will struggle to stop themselves opening it. The tannins are present, but supple and plump, and backed with a certain freshness of acidity as a counterpoint to its nicely ripe black fruit. It is lip-smacking and moreish.
Slow ripening in the vintage meant uneven ripeness in the Cabernet Sauvignon while Merlot apparently shone. Consequently, the 49% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend is the lowest in Rubicon history, with 28% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot making up the remainder. In addition, extraction during fermentation was deliberately gentle with the Cabernet, reflected in the supple tannic structure.
The wine spent 16 months in 55% new oak barrels, with the oak giving cedar and some incense-like spice notes which worked in harmony with tobacco-leaf aromas that are most likely from the Cabernet Franc component. Satisfying and rewarding. A wine to bring a smile to ones face.
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