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Rustenberg John X Merriman 2016 £16.95
RUSTENBERG JOHN X MERRIMAN
The Rustenberg Estate was founded in 1682 and is nestled in the valley of the Simonsberg Mountain in South Africa’s premium wine region, Stellenbosch. Rustenberg’s rich heritage and ethos has been informed by many centuries of human influence striving to understand and work with nature to produce wines of distinct character true to their terroir, variety and informed style.
This wine is named in honour of a former owner of Rustenberg, John Xavier Merriman, who bought the farm in 1892 in sympathy with farmers suffering from the phylloxera crisis. He played a great role in revitalizing Rustenberg and in promoting the tourism and agricultural value of Ida’s Valley, the area close to the town of Stellenbosch in which Rustenberg is situated.
The wine itself is a Bordeaux-style blend, with all of the fruit coming from the Estate, and made predominantly from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the greater of which depends on which varietal has a better showing over the other in any vintage. The John X Merriman is therefore a wonderful representation of the Estate, as well as the characteristics of a vintage.
The cold wet Winter of 2014 started early and ended late, which is ideal for the vineyards' dormancy; however an unseasonably cool Spring resulted in the vines going into Summer with 10 to 40% less crop than usual. The remainder of the season was warm and dry resulting in one of the earliest harvests on record. Zero disease pressure and small crops of fantastic ripe fruit combined with high natural acids make this potentially the vintage of the decade.
The John X Merriman is a powerful wine that rewards aging. In its youth the wine is worth decanting and expresses cassis, black currant and dark fruits complemented with cigar tobacco and sour cherry notes. As the wine ages and its fine grained tannins soften a softer more savoury palate develops revealing wonderful drinkability and tertiary complexity.
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