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Flat front label of wine

Rupert & Rothschild Rouge Classique 2001

Bordeaux Red Blends from South Africa
    0% ABV
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    Winemaker Notes

    The noble varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot form the basis of the Classique. The Merlot, harvested from the Simonsberg and Groot Drakenstein slopes was hand-picked at optimum ripeness in 400 kilogram bins. At Rupert & Rothschild picking is done in stages to ensure ripe, healthy fruit. The grapes are tasted prior to harvesting rather than harvested on analysis; thus allowing the fruit to express itself in the wine. Colour: Dense, blackish colour with ruby hues on the side of the glass. Aroma: Ripe, black plum with cherry tobacco wrapped in elegant cedarwood flavours. Tones of blackberry and cassis are evident. Palate: Rich nuances of red cherries, spicy tobacco and cinnamon on the palate. An array of well-integrated flavours with a smooth, velvet feel and fullness on the mid-palate. Long and lingering finish. Cellaring: Due to the low yield and gentle winemaking process, the Classique will improve with further bottle maturation.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Rupert & Rothschild

    Rupert & Rothschild

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    Rupert & Rothschild, South Africa

    Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons was established in 1997 under the leadership of Dr. Anton Rupert and Baron Edmond de Rothschild. The men later handed over the reins to their respective sons: Anthonij Rupert and Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. Following the tragic death of Anthonij in 2001, his older brother Johann Rupert and sister Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg assumed his position.

    The brand produces three distinctive wines: a single varietal Chardonnay called Rupert & Rothschild Baroness Nadine named after Baroness Nadine de Rothschild, wife of Edmond de Rothschild; a flagship Bordeaux blend called Rupert & Rothschild Baron Edmond de Rothschild named after the late Baron Edmond de Rothschild; and a classic red blend called Rupert & Rothschild Classique, one of the most widely sold and sought after South African red wines in its category.

    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.

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