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Anthonij Rupert Optima 2009

Bordeaux Red Blends from South Africa
  • WS90
14.5% ABV
  • JS93
  • W&S90
  • WS90
  • WS90
  • WW90
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2009 Optima has deep, intense purple color with aromas of blackcurrant, cassis, ripe plum and rich fruitcake with a hint of tobacco leaf. On the palate, the wine presents an old-school feel, with roasted cedar and bittersweet cocoa notes surrounding a well-hewn core of black currant, fig and blackberry fruit. A loamy edge marks the finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
Presents an old-school feel, with roasted cedar and bittersweet cocoa notes surrounding a well-hewn core of black currant, fig and blackberry fruit. A loamy edge marks the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
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Anthonij Rupert

Anthonij Rupert

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Anthonij Rupert, South Africa
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The historic L’Ormarins wine farm was established not long afterwards in 1694. Until the early 19th century, most of the owners were from the French Hugeonot descent. The Rupert family purchased the estate in 1969, and continued the winemaking tradition.

In 2005, Johann Rupert assumed ownership of the family wine business and created the Anthonij Rupert winery, after his late brother. It was under the guidance of Johann that a complete overhaul of the estate was conducted, which resulted in one of the most state of the art wineries in South Africa.

The Anthonij Rupert Wines philosophy of matching variety to site, to produce the highest quality of fruit, with neither expense nor commitment spared to capture that quality in a bottle, guarantees a current portfolio of wines that are second to none. This philosophy was exemplified in the first Wine Spectator ratings, in which 3 of the 4 wines received 90+ratings.

South Africa

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With an important wine renaissance is in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.

Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.

South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

SWS353065_2009 Item# 129772