What I Drank Last Night
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Meerlust Rubicon 2007

A banker.

On Friday, the launch of a Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Stellenbosch estate Meerlust. A 1975 Cab was the first red wine to be made under the Meerlust label and it appeared up to 1993, except for the below-par ’77,’79 and ’85.  Small quantities were again made in 2004 and 2005 and now the 2009. Much excitement among the Meerlust team about the Cab ‘09 but Rubicon is still the star of the show to my mind. Tasting notes and scores for all new releases below:

Cabernet Sauvignon 2009: Fruit-driven and rather extravagant. Ripe red and black fruit, relatively soft, smooth tannins. Rich, broad structured and apparently sweet but this probably due to 15% abv.
Score: 16/20

Chardonnay 2009: A demanding wine. Rich and full with good fruit concentration but also lots of secondary character. Lemon plays off against yeasty, leesy, nutty notes. Powerful but well balanced thanks to good line of acidity.
Score: 16.5/20

Merlot 2008: Includes 11% Cabernet Franc. Above average but unenthralling. Red fruit, a subtle herbaceous note and the first signs of some bottle age. Medium bodied, well balanced.
Score: 15.5/20

Pinot Noir 2010: Expressive and opulent. On the nose, red cherry, varietal perfume as well as some low-level reduction. The palate shows good fruit intensity, fresh acidity and firm but fine tannins. Oak rather prominent at this stage.
Score: 16.5/20

Rubicon 2007: An outstanding example of a Stellenbosch red made in the Bordeaux style (74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc). Cassis and pencil shavings on the nose. The palate is medium-  to full-bodied with great concentration and intensity. Pure fruit, fine tannins and fresh acidity before a wonderfully long, dry finish. Has great maturation potential.
Score: 17.5/20

Comments

  1. it is said that the quality of wine is not determined by tehnical analysis. But I do get your point about the high alc. But not even the Swatland gang with earlier picking and their “light touch” approach can get the low alc. of yesteryear.

  2. Eish… 15% alc. from a really, really cool vintage – that’s extremely sad to hear. The 2010 was a much hotter vintage and the 2011 even hotter. So is Meerlust’s 2011 Cabernet going to be 16% alc. or perhaps sporting a whack of residual sugar (SOMETHING must give)? Or maybe they were bailed out by reverse osm… ag, it makes my stomach turn to contemplate! Why such a classy producer with such a good track record would not take advantage of this heavenly slow-ripening vintage to produce something profound, instead of just another also-ran overripe caricature, is beyond me. Sure, I haven’t tasted it, but the stats make for a truly depressing read.

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