Rustenberg John X Merriman 2006
Bordeaux Red Blends from South Africa
A Bordeaux blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec.
This sensational Bordeaux blend is named for the Prime Minister of the Cape who purchased and revitalized part of the historical Rustenberg estate in the late 1800s. One of South Africa's most iconic bottlings, it delivers intense, smoky flavors of tobacco, cherry, licorice, and plum intertwined with complex notes of mineral and spice.
International Wine Cellar - "Full, saturated medium ruby. Primal aromas of blackcurrant, licorice and exotic flowers. Rich, broad and smoky, with superb fat and depth. Very ripe dark berry flavors are complicated by hints of truffle and tobacco leaf. This layered, large-scaled wine is extremely young today. Finishes quite dry and uncompromising, with big, chewy tannins and powerful backbone."
Wine & Spirits - "Mostly cabernet sauvignon and merlot, along with petit verdot, franc and malbec, this grows at Rustenberg's southwest-facing vineyards on Simonsberg Mountain. It's a dark, savory red with scents of black tea, dark plums and tobacco. With air, the middle of the wine fills out, deepening to black raspberry flavors, and the finish brightens, buoyed by mineral-edged tannin. For the cellar, or decant for roast lamb."
Rustenberg is one of South Africa’s oldest and most distinguished wine farms, with a viticultural history dating back to 1682. In 1941, Peter and Pamela Barlow bought the Rustenberg farm, situated in a prime location on the slopes of the Simonsberg. After taking control of the farm operations in 1987, their son Simon ushered in a new era, catapulting the historic estate to the ranks of South Africa’s winemaking elite.
The renaissance began with a large scale replanting of the vineyards using virus-free clones imported from France, followed by sweeping renovations to the winery and the hiring of new viticultural and winemaking teams. As Wine Spectator recently observed, "Rustenberg has all the qualifications of a world-class wine estate: a long history of winemaking…and ideal terroir, with deep-red, clay-rich granite soils that are located on a variety of slopes and elevations." Rustenberg has achieved tremendous critical and commercial success, and today the celebrated estate’s bottlings are among South Africa’s most iconic and sought-after wines. View all Rustenberg Wines
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A long history of growing grapes and making wine, but less of a history on exporting it, and even lesser on the quality aspect. At the turn of the century (1900, that is), a surplus of wine in South Africa created a hierarchy of cooperatives, the biggest and best known being KWV. This organization seemed to favor quantity over quality and had most control over wines and vineyards until the late 1980's. Now, with a bit more competition, quality is coming around. Yet, South African wine was not even seen in American wine stores until the mid-1990's – the trade embargo on the country for their racial apartheid laws kept South African wine out of the US. When apartheid fell, so did the embargo, and SA bottles began showing up on US shelves.
White wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, much of it the Steen variety – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape gaining some raves is Sauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends was once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, which used to be a grape only your mother could love, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. The most popular regions of the country include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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Notable FactsWhite wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, the majority of it is Steen – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape the critics rave aboutSauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends were once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, a man-made crossing between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. In describing red wines in South Africa, smoky and meaty are two terms that are common. Regionally, the most popular wine-making areas include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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2 ratings, 2 with reviewsScott Citino - Fernandina Beach, FL51/1/2011This a a classic bordeaux blend from a well-known South African Winery. Big tannins with flavors of tobacco, mineral, berry, and licorice. Wonderful!47/9/2010oaky, smokey, tobacco nose. very strong start. black fruits soon follows at first slip. very strong acid. has a spicy taste to it, too. i actually thought that the tannin was rather smooth and went by unnoticed for a wine with such character and structure. there is a hint of of chocolate sweetness at the finish.
Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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