Meerlust Estate Rubicon
Stellenbosch, South Africa
The Wine Advocate
July 31, 2023, Anthony Mueller
“Composed of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with 19% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Rubicon offers a broad-shouldered expression with an Old World essence. The nose explodes with a wide variety of aromas, expressing a subtle Old World funk with an equally pleasing amount of New World vibrancy and freshness. Medium to full-bodied, the palate offers dark fruit flavors with a fine beam of acidity while expressing a firm tannic edge that will loosen in time. The wine glides to a refined and complex finish that will continue to evolve gracefully for a decade. Unfortunately, there will not be a 2019 Rubicon.”
July 17, 2023, Owen Bargreen
“The 2018 Meerlust ‘Rubicon’ combines mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (67%) with smaller portions Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It is an awesome effort by former winemaker Chris Williams. Rich and decadent, this shows great flavor range from fresh sage and anise to flavors of dark currants, tobacco leaf and coffee grounds. Complex and delicious, enjoy now and over the next ten plus years. Drink 2023-2033.”
December 2022, Tim Atkin MW
“Back where it belongs among the elite wine brands of South Africa, the 2018 Rubicon is a worthy successor to the stellar 2017 release. Featuring Cabernet Sauvignon with 33% Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, this is an elegant, polished, refined wine from a hot, dry vintage that illustrates the benefit of a cooler site. Floral, balanced and poised. ”
October 16, 2022, Greg Sherwood
“Wonderfully deep in colour, the nose is splendidly expressive showing quintessential Cabernet Sauvignon notes of pressed violets, black plum, sun raisin black currants, black salty liquorice, black chai tea, sweet cedar spice and layers of graphite and spearmint. While the aromatics are dominated by rich, dark berry fruits, the palate is classically proportioned with plenty of overt elegance and textural finesse–a great feat considering the heat and drought of the 2018 vintage. The extra bottle age before release has undoubtedly been a positive for this powerful, structured blend, helping to further round out the suave creamy tannins and harmonise the earthy black berry fruit layers, making the acids polished, glassy and fresh rather than taut and crunchy like many other 2018 reds. Unexpectedly approachable in its youth, I would have no hesitancy to cellar this super smart blend for another 10 to 15+ years.”
August 31, 2022, Alison Napjus
“Broad and open-knit, this harmonious red integrates fine tannins with a fragrant overtone of cured tobacco, featuring baked currant and fig, fresh and loamy earth, black licorice twist and milled pepper. Fresh and focused on the finish, where the tobacco note lingers on. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2028.”
Meerlust Estate has been part of the Myburgh family tradition for eight generations, dating back to 1693. Long recognized for producing world-class wines, the Meerlust Estate is singularly rich in charm and history. Meerlust produces wines that are true to the intrinsic character of their vineyards located in the Stellenbosch region in South Africa. The diverse soils, the unique coastal climate and over 300 years of dedication are all essential components of Meerlust’s complex, rich and truly distinctive wines.
The cabernet sauvignon is grown on low yielding, predominantly biotite partially decomposed granite gravel topsoil rich in quartz and feldspar to a depth of approximately 600mm with a loamy clay subsoil. The merlot vineyards are planted on more clay rich, yet well drained soils to ensure moisture retention and availability to the vines roots right through the summer. There are considerable deposits of iron-rich Laterite in the merlot vineyards which accentuates the fruit definition and mineral profile of the wine. The cabernet franc vineyard is situated on very well drained, stony Vilafontes soil with approximately 20% clay which is ideal for this variety. The petit verdot is on Oakleaf 3 soils on a northerly aspect to ensure full phenolic ripeness.
Very similar in key way to the renowned 2015 vintage,our winemaking practices focused on capitalizing on the perfect weather conditions. Coupled with this, most of our vineyards over 2 decades old, ensuring perfect balance between vigor and crop size. Each variety was fermented separately before undergoing malolactic fermentation in 300 L barrels, 60% new French Nevers and 40% second fill casks. After 8 months in barrel, the components were blended and given another 10 months in barrel for harmonization before bottling.
Very deep, youthful color, and intense almost purple hue. Quintessential Rubicon nose with violets, ripe plum, cedar wood, fennel, and intense spiciness. A typical liquorice note also evident on the nose. Still young and intense, the palate is full bodied, structured but packed with fresh dark fruit and rounded tannins. This is a vintage that is more approachable in youth because of the ripeness and richness levels attained in 2018 but will provide great complexity with further maturation.
The 2018 harvest season was really challenging, due to a prolonged drought which some believe to be the worst in 100 years showing its impact. The winter months only cooled off later with higher-than-normal temperatures and the farm only receiving 80% of the expected winter rainfall. The dry weather throughout the season did have its advantages as vines were healthy, with little or no pests and diseases being recorded. The limited water availability also resulted in a smaller crop due to lighter bunches and very small berries. This coupled with the night temperatures that were cooler than usual during the ripening period, resulted in excellent color and flavor development.
This wine pairs well with venison, game, pot roast and noble cheese. Suggested serving temperature is 64°F - 68°F.
Varietals: 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot
Wine Alcohol: 14.3%
Titratable Acidity: 5.54 g/L
Aging: 18 months in barrel
Aging Potential: 15-20 years