After the 2015 vintage, which Meerlust maintains was its fastest selling Rubicon release in the history of the brand, 2016 was always going to be up against it in outright quality terms. But this warm hot and dry drought vintage was tough on everyone but in the end, yielded soft, plush, forward, earlier drinking reds of excellent quality.
I reviewed the Rubicon 2016 recently but was certainly pleased to taste the entire Meerlust range again in London with owner Hannes Myburgh. What really struck me was the uniformity of quality and style and an overall opulence and accessibility that makes this a vintage ready to start cracking open now.
Tasting in London with Hannes Myburgh
I’ll be in the Cape again soon and look forward to getting a sneak peek at the already bottled 2017 Meerlust Rubicon who’s component parts I last tasted with Chris Williams in early 2019. Since then, Chris has of course decided to move on to his Foundry Winery project full time while still lending a stylistic ‘guiding hand’ to new wine maker Wim Truter while he settles in and learns the ins and outs of this historic Stellenbosch estate.
Meerlust Chardonnay 2018, WO Stellenbosch, 13 Abv
Classic youthful Chardonnay nose of lemon cream biscuits, puppy’s breath, vanilla pod and hints of oatmeal cookies. Fabulously cool, restrained and balanced, this has an incredible smokey Puligny meats Chassagne Montrachet nuttiness and minerality. Lovely freshness, definition and purity. Wow! This has Burgundy written all over it!!
(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Meerlust Pinot Noir 2017, WO Stellenbosch, 12.5 Abv
Spicy and intense with delicious foresty bramble berry notes, earthy sappy piquant red cherry and wild strawberry with hints of cedar and sappy spice. Palate is cool, sleek and light footed in a style built to accompany fine dining.
(Wine Safari Score: 91/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Meerlust Red 2017, WO Stellenbosch, 14 Abv.
Heavily orientated towards Cabernet Franc in this vintage with 55% supported by 33% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon to lend extra back bone. As expected this wine embraces the aromatic cedar and clove spices of Franc together with red berry fruited elegance, wild bramble berries and a saline Cabernet cassis intensity that carries the finish and turbo charges the concentration. Fabulous value for money! Fill your cellar!!
(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Meerlust Merlot 2015, WO Stellenbosch, 14 Abv.
Dark, broody, exotic nose of brûléed coffee beans, black currant, earthy black plum and sandalwood spice. Texturally this is spot on with fabulous freshness, textural elegance and sleek creamy sweet tannins. One of the finer single varietal Merlots produced in SA.
(Wine Safari Score: 92+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Meerlust Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, WO Stellenbosch, 14 Abv.
Dark and richly black fruited Cabernet with nuances of graphite, sweet tobacco, violets and earthy black currant fruits. Tannins are sweet and sappy and the palate weight creamy and fleshly with a really friendly accessibility. A fine earlier drinking effort in this drought vintage.
(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Meerlust Rubicon 2016, WO Stellenbosch, 14 Abv.
Revisiting this classic wine after extra time in bottle helps it shine ever so brighter. There is sleek textural elegance, plush sweet polished tannins and earthy red and black currant fruit notes. Seamlessly assembled, this is a triumph for the vintage and shows a very agreeable early drinking opulence combined with palate breadth and depth. The cream always rises to the top. Ready to enjoy now!
(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
6 thoughts on “Tasting a Mixed Meerlust Vintage Line Up in London With Hannes Myburgh…”
Why did they release a Red from the 2017 vintage, Greg? Have they not historically only released that label in years that they didn’t release a Rubicon (as a sort of declassified Rubicon)?
No, they produce a Meerlust Red every year but it’s mostly for export where consumers fully understand the concept of second wines far better and it only adds to the sales of the first wine Rubicon, not detracts from sales like it has done in SA occasionally.
The 2011 Rubicon was totally declassified into the Red… making it quite sort after for £11 per bottle back then!!
The 2017 is very good, easily up there or better than the Meerlust Red 2015. Buy it if you can get it in SA. But Rubicon 2017 going to be monumental as well!
Thanks, Greg. If my memory is not failing me too badly, I think there were total declassifications in 1990 and 2002 as well. Either way, that’s the only time we see the Red on the open market here in South Africa. A pity.
Yes, think that’s correct. Home market only gets the Red when the entire Rubicon vintage is declassified.
Local market is also notoriously “cheapskate” and consumers flock to Meerlust Red at the detriment of Rubicon. Economic times are certainly tough in SA at the moment so you definitely won’t see the Red anytime soon.
I’m under correction, but I think 1985 was actually the first one. Incidentally, I only had a quick taste of their 2015 Cabernet, but I thought it was a cracker.