Rubicon 2016 has arrived – “Great charm and litheness even at this early stage”
Meerlust Cellar Master, Chris Williams, comments on the vintage:
“The 2016 vintage at Meerlust was somewhat unusual in that it was generally cooler but accompanied by a severe drought starting in 2015. This led to challenging conditions, particularly with regards to flavour and tannin development in the later Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, and eveness of ripening across all the varieties.
Fortunately, Meerlust does have a large storage dam and the irrigation system required mainly for the establishment of young vines, it’s not common to use irrigation on the more established vineyards due to their extensive and deep root systems which penetrate into the subsoil clay to access moisture for the ripening process. This moisture zone had mostly dried out by late summer in 2016, inducing water stress in many of our vineyards. We strategically used irrigation to ensure slower, even ripening to ensure flavour and tannin development.
Nevertheless, some of our later Cabs did not achieve the flavour intensity, balance and mature tannic structure we require for our Rubicon, so the 2016 Rubicon has significantly less Cab than other vintages (49% as opposed to more usual 65%). This allowed Merlot and Cabernet Franc to play a far greater role in the Rubicon Blend in 2016 (28% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc). On tasting the bottled wine, the Rubicon 2016 shows an immediate charm and succulence as a result of the high Merlot content with a vibrancy and spice from the additional Cabernet franc. It is important for us to faithfully reflect the wide vintage variation we experience at Meerlust and the 2016 vintage demonstrates this clearly.”
“The 2016 Rubicon shows great charm and drinkability even at this early stage, no doubt a result of the high Merlot and Cabernet Franc composition. We were very cautious with regards to tannic structure as some of the later Cabs exhibited astringency which we wanted to minimise in the final blend. Wonderful exotic aromas of plum, sandalwood and perfume, still with a touch of creamy vanilla. The palate is medium bodied with a forward dark fruit flavour of cassis and mulberry followed by a lithe tannic structure fleshed out with juicy fruit. The impression is one of litheness and grace rather than over-arching power.”, Chris Williams
Click HERE for the Technical Sheet