MEERLUST RUBICON 2014
“Alea iacta est. The die is cast,” Julius Caesar is supposed to have said as he led his troops towards Rome in 49BC. The crucial border of the ancient capital was the Rubicon River, and the decision to cross it marked an irrevocable point in history. It would profoundly shift the course of Roman politics – there could be no turning back.
Some 2000 years later, a watershed event occurred in the life of Nico Myburgh, father of the current custodian of Meerlust, Hannes Myburgh. Holidaying in Bordeaux, he discovered that the terroir in this area of France was similar to that of the Eerste River Valley. Both have a distinctive climate, characterised by a cooling sea breeze. And both have a soil structure made up of decomposed granite and clay.
The red wines produced by the two regions, however, were very different. Unlike the Western Cape’s specified cultivars, Bordeaux thrived on producing blends.
Nico returned to Meerlust, filled with inspiration and the desire to create a blend of his own that would match those of the French. In 1980, after several years of experimentation together with winemaker Giorgio Dalla Cia, he announced the birth of the new blend. With proportions of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, a new style of wine had been created in South Africa. Like Caesar, there could be no turning back.
Nico and Giorgio had already considered a number of names for the new blend when Professor Dirk Opperman from the University of Stellenbosch, a friend of Nico’s suggested that “Rubicon” might be appropriate. The pair had, after all, crossed a new frontier – and changed the way South Africans thought about red wine.
CRAFTING THE RUBICON
The Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vineyards are hand harvested from February through to March and each individual vineyard block is kept separate throughout the fermentation process and monitored until the moment of blending.
The Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vineyards are hand harvested from February through to March and each individual vineyard block is kept separate throughout the fermentation process and monitored until the moment of blending. The alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel after which the wine is run off into 300 litre French Oak barrels.
In wintertime, after malolactic fermentation has allowed the personality of each vineyard to assert itself in barrel, the wines are carefully assessed to produce the most expressive, harmonious and complex wine. The blend is assembled and then allowed another year in barrel for the components to harmonise. The wine is finally bottled and left for a further 2 years before release. Rubicon is always released at four years of age and will immediately offer the distinctive character and quality of the Estate. However, further bottle maturation is advised for the intriguing complexity of this classic wine to unfold and reveal itself.
The first vintage, the 1980, remains vivacious and very much alive, even 30+ years after vintage. Subsequent vintages all express the personality and characteristics of their specific year. All vintages of Rubicon, however, share the hallmarks of wines grown at this special place: intensity, harmony, vibrancy, complexity and individuality.
We are committed to ensuring that Rubicon becomes even more distinguished and continues to occupy its rightful place amongst the finest wines in the world.