About Rustenberg

Rustenberg and the Barlow family behind it are featured in the latter chapters of Taber’s “Judgement of Paris”. The book is about the Paris wine tasting of 1976 when American wines outscored some of the best from France. The result gave new world winemakers the confidence to make classic Bordeaux blends as good and sometimes better than those from Bordeaux. Rustenberg is one such wine.

How did the Rustenberg John X Merriman taste?

Delicious rich blend of Bordeaux grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

  • Smell: Dark cherries, chocolate, green peppers
  • Taste: Almost a sour start but then an explosion of flavours from cherry and blackcurrant to eucalyptus and leather. It doesn’t stop there – there’s far more going on. Tannins are just right, not leaving an overly dry effect in the mouth. High acid and sourness will probably soften out a bit if left in a cellar for a few more years. I left it overnight in a decanter and it softened a little, but not much – so perhaps a few more years in the bottle is what’s required.

A Big Bordeaux Blend from Stellenbosch

A Bordeaux blend which varies from year to year, presumably the mix is varied depending on the weather and how it has impacted on the grape harvest. This one, the 2003, had the following blend:

  • 52% Cabernet Sauvignon,
  • 42% Merlot,
  • 5% Cabernet Franc,
  • 1% Petit Verdot

The 2004 differed, being more dominated by Merlot:

  • 46% Merlot,
  • 36% Cabernet Sauvignon,
  • 9% Cabernet Franc,
  • 9% Petit Verdot

And the 2005:

  • 54% Merlot,
  • 33% Cabernet Sauvignon,
  • 6% Petit Verdot,
  • 4% Cabernet Franc,
  • 3% Malbec

The 2002:

  • 52% Cabernet Sauvignon,
  • 46% Merlot,
  • 2% Cabernet Franc

Read more…

Great piece about this vineyard over at Jamie Goode’s wineanorak.com:

Regarded by many in South Africa as a really great vintage. Sweet, dark, smooth black fruits nose. Lovely concentration on the palate. This is quite a fresh, well defined style with a subtle chalky minerally edge to it. Nice earthy finish. Very good/excellent 90/100

Watch more…

Gary Vaynerchuk tasted the Rustenberg John X Merriman 2003 back in episode 218 (April 2007) but alas, it was corked (an overriding cardboard-paper flavour).