It’s perhaps a global fine wine anomaly but South Africa’s most famous estate produces a second wine of it’s flagship Rubicon Bordeaux blend but it’s only sold on export markets… unless… the flagship wine Rubicon is not produced, like in 2019, and is declassified into the Meerlust Red.
It’s a lovely story, if you live overseas. But for local consumers, the release of the Meerlust Red is a true rarity with the downgrade or declassification of the Rubicon only previously occurring in the case of the the 1985, 1990, 2002 and the 2011 vintages… and now the 2019. But in the UK, we have just received the new vintage of the Meerlust Red 2018. Admittedly, the 2017 was a phenomenal wine and was tasted and rated 93/100 buy the Fine Wine Safari. So what to expect from the 2018 successor?
With European markets consuming and enjoying second wines without cannibalising the corresponding flagship first wines, the relationship between consumers and second wines is far more intricate and nuanced compared to the South African local home market.
Meerlust Red 2018, WO Stellenbosch, 14% Abv.
Never a wine to shout about it’s pedigree, instead it prefers to whisper confidently about it’s regal heritage. This Meerlust Red 2018 is sleek, fresh and light on its feet with delicately perfumed aromatics of dried violets, smokey charcoal embers, raisined red currants and freshly cut cedar spice. The palate is light to medium bodied, cool and crisp, showing a pure, precise black berry elegance, sleek fresh acids and a cool textural linearity. The wine finishes with notes of melted black liquorice, black plum, sappy black currant and charred BBQ’ed savoury notes. Impressive accessibility and a classy harmonious balance make this a really delicious glassful now with added pleasure to be expected over 3-8+ years of ageing.
(Wine Safari Score: 91+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)