Meerlust Estate has been the pride of the Myburgh family since 1756. Today, the dedication to quality winemaking continues under the guidance of 8th generation, Hannes Myburgh. In sping 2020, winemaker Wim Truter joined Meerlust, taking over from Chris Williams to become only the third winemaker to take the reins at this historic estate. The name Meerlust means “pleasure of the sea”, as the property is situated 5km from False Bay (and 15km south of Stellenbosch), where the cooling influence of the coast allows the grapes ripen slowly.
The Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on low yielding, predominantly biotite partially decomposed granite gravel topsoil rich in quartz and feldspar to a depth of approximately 600mm with a loamy clay subsoil. The Merlot vineyards are planted on more clay rich, yet well drained soils to ensure moisture retention and availability to the vines roots right through the summer. There are considerable deposits of iron-rich Laterite in the Merlot vineyards which accentuates the fruit definition and mineral profile of the wine. The Cabernet Franc Vineyard is situated on very well drained, stony Vilafontes soil with approximately 20% clay which is ideal for this variety. The Petit Verdot is on Oakleaf 3 soils on a northerly aspect to ensure full phenolic ripeness.
The 2018 Rubicon is a classically proportioned blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, every parcel of each variety was fermented separately before undergoing malolactic fermentation in 300 L barrels and large Foudré. After 8 months in barrel, the components were blended and given another 10 months in barrel for harmonization before bottling.
The 2018 harvest season was really challenging, due to a prolonged drought which some believe to be the worst in 100 years showing its impact. The winter months only cooled off later with higher-than-normal temperatures and the farm only receiving 80% of the expected winter rainfall. The dry weather throughout the season did have its advantages as vines were healthy, with little or no pests and diseases being recorded. The limited water availability also resulted in a smaller crop due to lighter bunches and very small berries. This coupled with the night temperatures that were cooler than usual during the ripening period, resulted in excellent colour and flavour development.
Very deep, youthful colour, and intense almost purple hue. Quintessential Rubicon nose with violets, ripe plum, cedar wood, fennel, and intense spiciness. A typical liquorice note also evident on the nose. Still young and intense, the palate is full bodied, structured but packed with fresh dark fruit and rounded tannins. This is a vintage that is more approachable in youth because of the ripeness and richness levels attained in 2018 but will provide great complexity with further maturation. Ageing Potential: 10 – 20 years, provided wine is stored in ideal cellar conditions.
Venison, game, pot roast and noble cheese.
Ideally served at 18°C
95 pts Tim Atkin
Back where it belongs among the elite wine brands of South Africa, the 2018 Rubicon is a worthy successor to the stellar 2017 release. Featuring Cabernet Sauvignon with 33% Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, this is an elegant, polished, refined wine from a hot, dry vintage that illustrates the benefit of a cooler site. Floral, balanced and poised. 2025-32.
95 pts Greg Sherwood MW
Wonderfully deep in colour, the nose is splendidly expressive showing quintessential Cabernet Sauvignon notes of pressed violets, black plum, sun raisin black currants, black salty liquorice, black chai tea, sweet cedar spice and layers of graphite and spearmint. While the aromatics are dominated by rich, dark berry fruits, the palate is classically proportioned with plenty of overt elegance and textural finesse – a great feat considering the heat and drought of the 2018 vintage. The extra bottle age before release has undoubtedly been a positive for this powerful, structured blend, helping to further round out the suave creamy tannins and harmonise the earthy black berry fruit layers, making the acids polished, glassy and fresh rather than taut and crunchy like many other 2018 reds. Unexpectedly approachable in its youth, I would have no hesitancy to cellar this super smart blend for another 10 to 15+ years.
91 pts Wine Spectator
Broad and open knit, this harmonious red integrates fine tannins with a fragrant overtone of cured tobacco, featuring baked currant and fig, fresh and loamy earth, black licorice twist and milled pepper. Fresh and focused on the finish, where the tobacco note lingers on. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2028.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
67% Cabernet Sauvignon
10% Cabernet Franc
4% Petit Verdot