Meerlust Rubicon 2018


Meerlust Rubicon had a great impact on the history of South African wine. First made in 1980, it essentially set the pattern for Bordeaux blends in the country. There was of course a few pioners at this front that only used Cabernet Sauvignon varietal such as Kanonkop (Paul Sauer) in 1973 but as a blend as per Bordeaux style Meerlust changed the scene. According to Hannes Myburgh, his father was inspired by Julious Cesar words “Alea iacta est. The die is cast,” leading his troops towards Rome in 49BC. As this was a irreversable moment in history as there was no turning back after crossing the Rubicon river as this profoundly shifted Roman politics. Nico Myburgh from the 7th generation of the Meerlust estate and father of the current custodian, was holidaying in Bordeaux when he discovered that the terroir in this area of France was similar to that of the Eerste River Valley. Both have a distinctive climate, characterised by a cooling sea breeze. And both have a soil structure made up of decomposed granite and clay. The red wines produced by the two regions, however, were very different. Unlike the Western Cape’s specified cultivars, Bordeaux thrived on producing blends.
Nico returned to Meerlust, filled with inspiration and the desire to create a blend of his own that would match those of the French. In 1980, after several years of experimentation together with winemaker Giorgio Dalla Cia, he announced the birth of the new blend. With proportions of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, a new style of wine had been created in South Africa. Like Caesar, there could be no turning back.
Nico and Giorgio had already considered a number of names for the new blend when Professor Dirk Opperman from the University of Stellenbosch, a friend of Nico’s suggested that “Rubicon” might be appropriate. The pair had, after all, crossed a new frontier – and changed the way South Africans thought about red wine.

The Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vineyards are hand harvested from February through to March and each individual vineyard block is kept separate throughout the fermentation process and monitored until the moment of blending.

In wintertime, after malolactic fermentation has allowed the personality of each vineyard to assert itself in barrel, the wines are carefully assessed to produce the most expressive, harmonious and complex wine. The blend is assembled and then allowed another year in barrel for the components to harmonise. The wine is finally bottled and left for a further 2 years before release. Rubicon is always released at four years of age and will immediately offer the distinctive character and quality of the Estate. However, further bottle maturation is advised for the intriguing complexity of this classic wine to unfold and reveal itself.
The first vintage, the 1980, remains vivacious and very much alive, even 30+ years after vintage. Subsequent vintages all express the personality and characteristics of their specific year. All vintages of Rubicon, however, share the hallmarks of wines grown at this special place: intensity, harmony, vibrancy, complexity and individuality.
I suppose we could use here ”Veni, vidi, vici”



Tasting Notes from Pinto Wines

Colour Very deep, youthful colour, and intense almost purple hue
Nose violets, ripe plum, cedarwood, fennel, great level of spiciness and some liquorice notes
Palate Structured but packed with fresh dark fruit and rounded, linear tannins

Fact Sheet

Size 75 cl
Grape Variety 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot
Alcohol % 14%
Style Full bodied red bordeaux style
Estate/Producer  Meerlust estate/Hannes Myburgh
Country South Africa
Region Stellenbosch
Vintage 2018
Vinification During veraison vendage vert was applied extensively to ensure an evenly ripe crop. Gentle extraction to ensure the wines were not overly tannic or astringent. The varieties were fermented separately with a combination of remontage and delistage.  wines were transferred to barrel early for malo-lactic fermentation in 55% new Nevers oak, 25% second fill barrels and the remaining 20% in older French oak barrels. The wine was barrel-aged for 16 months before bottling
Closure Cork
Cellaring/Ageing Potential Great ageing potential, cellar is recommended here


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