Rustenberg John X Merriman 2019
The John X Merriman is a powerful wine that rewards aging. In its youth the wine is worth decanting and expresses cassis, black currant and dark fruits complemented with cigar tobacco and sour cherry notes. As the wine ages and its fine grained tannins soften a softer more savory palate develops revealing wonderful drinkability and tertiary complexity.
Blend: 43.5% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 7.5% Petit Verdot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Dark cherries, plums, chocolate, grilled herbs and cigar box on the nose. Medium-to full-bodied with fine, creamy tannins. Succulent, fruity and delicious with lingering chocolate notes. Merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec and petit verdot. Sustainable. Drink or hold
This is a medium-bodied blend of 43.5% Merlot and 41% Cabernet Sauvignon with a drop of Malbec and Petit Verdot. Aromatic herbs, plum and coffee open the nose. The palate is fresh, with lively acidity and medium tannins balancing intense oak flavors. Smoky notes followed by a core of meaty red and black fruit flavors extend to the medium finish.
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.
South Africa’s most famous wine-producing district, Stellenbosch, surrounds the historic town with the same name; fine winemaking here dates back to the late 1600s. Its valleys of granite, sandstone and alluvial loam soils between the towering blue-grey mountains of Stellenbosch, Simonsberg and Helderberg have the capacity to produce beautiful wines from many varieties. The climate is warm Mediterranean, tempered by the cool Atlantic air of nearby False Bay.
Perhaps most well-known for its Pinotage and Bordeaux blends, Stellenbosch also produces noteworthy wines from Syrah, Chenin blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. The district’s wards—Banghoek, Bottelary, Devon Valley, Jonkershoek Valley, Papegaaiberg, Polkadraai Hills and Simonsberg-Stellenbosch—all produce distinctive wines from vines with relatively low yields.
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. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.