This wine certainly needs no introduction, as one of the most loved reds in South Africa; the Meerlust Rubicon is the sought after Vintage that is this week’s feature wine. It comes from the gorgeous estate situated sixteen kilometers outside Stellenbosch and boasts a rich history and deep seated tradition. This estate has been a part of the same family for a massive eight generations and dates back to 1756. The Myburgh family takes pride in the graceful manor and classic wine cellar that is idyllically placed on some of the most beautiful grounds in the Western Cape. A tour of the grounds reveals a delicate rose garden, a bird sanctuary and even a cemetery. It is also the home of the Rubicon, an absolute South African favourite.
History of the Wine
Nico Myburgh, the father of current owner, Hannes Myburgh is credited for creating the beautiful Rubicon that we enjoy today. Visiting France, Nico recognized that the terroir in Bordeaux is very similar to that of the Eerste River Valley. The similar climate, cool sea breeze and soil structure, packed with clay and decomposed granite got his mind working in how to bring the popular Bordeaux blends into the cultivor-specific Cape.
Several years of experimentation led him to eventually, in 1980, announce the new blend. Together with winemaker Giorgio Dalla Cia, they created a brand new blend made up of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. With the perfect wine in front of them, they deliberated on a name. and it wasn’t until Professor Dirk Opperman of the University of Stellenbosch suggested the name “Rubicon”. He labeled it such as a new frontier in South Africa, just as Julius Caesar had achieved in Rome in 49BC. By crossing the Rubicon River, a crucial border in the Capital, Caesar had irreversibly changed Roman politics, and there was no turning back.
A Delicately Crafted Wine
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot now make up this type of wine. The vineyards are carefully harvested from February to March and each vineyard block is kept separately. It is carefully monitored through the fermentation process until the moment of blending and the alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel, and is then run off into 300 litre French Oak barrels.
Winter allows the malolactic fermentation to take place and push for the personality of each vineyard to develop in each barrel. The blend is only assembled after a meticulous assessment is conducted to ensure that the right harmony, and expression comes out in the wine. After another year in the barrel, allowing the blend to harmonize, it is bottled and lefty for a further two years. Rubicon therefore is released at the four year age and it is encouraged to allow a further age of maturation to increase the complexity of the wine and develop the personality that is so loved.
Even after thirty years, the 1980 vintage, the very first vintage produced, is vivacious, alive and possesses a vibrant character not often found in wines.
What Can you Expect From the Wine
The nose of the Rubicon has a perfect blend of violets, ripe plum, cedar and a deep spice intensity. A taste of liquorices and earth stick in the nose and as it hits the palate, a full bodied, tannin-ripe make it smooth and sleek. It lingers on the tongue, allowing for the full body to develop and swell into full-bodied silkiness in the mouth. It has a deep purple colour that lingers on the glass and its sleek tannin-filled feel make this wine a special creation for all red wine lovers all over South Africa.
The wine has taken home several awards over the years, boasting the Platter Five Star and Decanter medals throughout the years and it is now available to you to buy and enjoy either now, or in 15 to 20 years in your cellar