Andy Howard MW, decanter.com (February 2020)
About this WINE
Meerlust Estate, Stellenbosch
Making fine wines on the Meerlust Estate has been part of the Myburgh family tradition for eight generations, dating back to 1756. Today, the family tradition of dedication to the art of winemaking continues under the guidance of owner Hannes Myburgh, who studied winemaking at Geisenheim, Germany and Château Lafite and Chris Williams, who took over from Giorgio dalla Cia, and has brought a new energy and style to the wines.
Chris Williams was appointed cellar master in 2004 and brought a new energy and style to the wines, also enhancing the quality of the flagship wine, Rubicon – one of the first Bordeaux-style blends to be developed by a South African producer.
The estate is situated 15 kilometres south of Stellenbosch, with the blue crescent of False Bay just five kilometres away. Two hundred hectares are planted, mainly with red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir.
Meerlust is uniquely situated for the production of wines with exceptional complexity and character. In the summertime, ocean breezes and evening mists roll in from the coast to cool the vineyards. The grapes ripen slowly, thus achieving full, concentrated varietal aromas and flavours. The soil here is very much like that in Bordeaux, consisting of decomposed granite mixed with clay, and is ideal for growing grapes for fine wine.
Stellenbosch is South Africa’s best-known wine region, producing a wide variety of wines from leading estates, even though it accounts for less than 20 per cent of the country’s total production. Designated wards within the wine region are Jonkershoek Valley, Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Bottelary, Devon Valley and Papegaaiberg.
At 17,500 hectares, Stellenbosch remains the Cape's most famous and important fine wine district, thanks to its proximity to Cape Town, to the cooling influences of False Bay, its mountainous (ie Helderberg, Simonsberg), granitic topography and its centres of learning such as Elsenburg Agricultural College.
The most famous red wine grape in the world and one of the most widely planted.
It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, although it performs particularly well on well-drained, low-fertile soils. It has small, dusty, black-blue berries with thick skins that produce deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with notable tannins. Its spiritual home is the Médoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux where it thrives on the well-drained gravel-rich soils producing tannic wines with piercing blackcurrant fruits that develop complex cedarwood and cigar box nuances when fully mature.
The grape is widely planted in California where Cabernet Sauvignon based wines are distinguished by their rich mixture of cassis, mint, eucalyptus and vanilla oak. It is planted across Australia and with particular success in Coonawarra where it is suited to the famed Terra Rossa soil. In Italy barrique aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a key component in Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia, either on its own or as part of a blend with Sangiovese.