Before Adi Badenhorst established his own operation in the Swartland, he was of course winemaker at Rustenberg. Over the weekend, some of the wines from this respected Stellenbosch property as made by him: the 2002 and 2003 vintages of Bordeaux-style red blend John X Merriman (both 15% alcohol by volume) and the 2003 vintage of the site specific Cabernet Sauvignon called Peter Barlow (15.5%).
Clearly, Badenhorst was at pains to achieve “full phenolic ripeness” and hence the resulting alcohol levels on these wines. His efforts more or less worked in the case of the two vintages of John X Merriman but the Peter Barlow now looks overdone – hollow on the mid-palate, hot on the finish.
Far more satisfying was Badenhorst’s CWG Auction Reserve 2005 from Stellenbosch (Rustenberg?) grapes. A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Malbec and 20% Petit Verdot, it spent 36 months in French oak.
Red and black berries, some fynbos plus attractive oak on the nose. Rich and broad but balanced – plenty of sweet fruit upfront before a nicely savoury finish. Lots of oomph but not cumbersome. And the alcohol by volume? 14%.