Meerlust Cabernet Sauvignon 2004


The Meerlust Cabernet Sauvingon 2004 vintage was the first single-variety bottling from this Stellenbosch property since 1993 and when it was released in what I think must have been 2007, I remember being struck by how extraordinarily tannic it was. Of course, the firm, hard keeping qualities of Cabernet Sauvignon is a defining feature of the variety and it spent 20 months in tight grained French oak barrels, 60% new which suggests that winemaker Chris Williams wished a long life for it, but back then I was left wondering if it might ever come around.

Drinking the wine now, it still appears remarkably tight and youthful : cassis and graphite on the nose, while the palate shows good fruit purity and bright acidity before a remarkably dry, savoury finish. Hardly medium bodied but neither rich nor full; rather possessing a sort of weightless intensity. Very good but I finished it with a sort of grudging respect rather than with a song in my heart. A wine for purists rather than hedonists.

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  1. KwispedoorMay 30, 2011 at 5:17 pmReply

    I had two beautiful early eighties Blaauwklippen Cabs over the weekend. When hardcore wines age well, it’s all worth the wait. Must not molest immature Cab.

  2. ChristianMay 30, 2011 at 1:47 pmReplyAuthor

    Hi Chris, Thanks for your comment. Please don’t think I’m into Cab that’s super-ripe with slippery tannins but that 2004 is hardcore – even left half the bottle overnight and it eased up by maybe five percent. Optimal drinking 2014 – 2019?

  3. Chris WilliamsMay 30, 2011 at 9:08 amReply

    Thanks for the review Christian. I suspect our 2005 Cab might be more to your taste. The 04 was quite structured, savoury and linear, very classic and edgy. The 2005 is all rich crushed fruit, silky tannins, oppulence and curves. Like our Pinot, our single variety Cab is all about expressing vintage and is usually a single vineyard bottling and I think illustrates the difference between the 2004 and 2005 vintage conditions in Stellenbosch. To use your analogy, when I am in a hedonistic mood, I drink Pinot, when I am in a purist state of mind, I go for the 04 Cab!

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