2015 Meerlust "Rubicon" Red Bordeaux Blend Stellenbosch South Africa

SKU #1407899 92 points Vinous

 The 2015 Rubicon had been a source of contention prior to my visit, hailed by some respected commentators as one of the Cape’s greats and then almost pilloried in a contemporaneous blind tasting. It is a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, each fermented separately before blending. It was matured for 18 months in 66% new oak and the remainder second-fill. So what do I make of the wine? It is clear in color with quite a deep core. The bouquet is refined and focused, offering attractive mint- and graphite-infused black and red fruit and perhaps leaning a little more toward the latter compared to previous vintages. With aeration, subtle touches of pencil shavings emerge. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannin and quite velvety in texture, displaying very well integrated new oak. There is a satisfying sense of harmony to this Rubicon and it is certainly well constructed, but it does not possess that peacock’s tail on the finish that takes a very good wine to the level of great. Perfectly enjoyable, and it demonstrates very good winemaking; however, when compared to, say, the 2015 Paul Sauer, it just falls a little short. [I tasted this sighted and then in a mini blind tasting to confirm.] (NM)  (8/2018)

Jancis Robinson

 Sweet hickory smoke, black cherry and graphite. Manages to be typically Cape yet not acrid or unkempt. Lovely smooth, joined-up structure. 17/20 points. (RH)  (9/2018)

Wine Spectator

 Focused and fresh, with a pretty savory streak amidst the core of red currant and bitter cherry fruit flavors. The sleek, mineral-edged finish has judicious toast character. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2020. (JM, Web Only-2018)

K&L Notes

Winery notes: "67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. The 2014 Rubicon displays the restraint and elegance of the cooler vintage. Still showing a very deep, youthful colour, and intense almost purple hue. Beautifully perfumed and floral nose with violets, ripe plum, cedar wood and intense spiciness. A typical liquorice note and stony minerality also evident on the nose. Still youthful and intense, promising further maturation potential. The palate is medium bodied, structured by beautifully sleek, ripe tannins which restrain the vibrant delicate fruit typical of this vintage, giving the wine an opulent texture which is kept focused by the linear acidity. The wine lingers on the palate with creamy fruit mouthfiilling tannins."


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Price: $29.99

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

South Africa

- Now that it has adopted a multi-racial attitude, and now that the world has embraced its government and its exports, South Africa has become a major wine producer. Unfortunately, South Africa has had a difficult time joining the ranks of competitive winemaking countries. During the anti-apartheid sanctions in the 1980s, South African wine was dealt the huge blow when it was removed from the international market, and for political reasons it was quite difficult for wine producers to market wine to the black majority. Things are finally looking up for the wine industry here, and quality has never been higher. South Africa produces a grape cloned from Pinot Noir and Cinsault, called Pinotage, which is the country's unique varietal. Chenin Blanc (known as Steen) makes up one-third of its vines. Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz are becoming increasingly popular as are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.