Rustenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 1971

February 8, 2012
by Christian
in What I Drank Last Night
with 6 Comments


My wife Jane and I were married four years yesterday. With a niggly newborn and a wilful two-year-old, celebrations were always going to be modest but we tried to make the best of things. Crumbed calamari with Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2005 to start followed by pan fried sirloin, chips and petit pois with by Rustenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 1971 for the main course.

We shared a chuckle at how quick our metamorphosis from thirtysomething hellraisers to child-rearing suburbanites had been and got stuck into the wines. What a pleasure to drink, really drink older stuff –both wines showing a mellowness which only age can bring.

The Rustenberg was particularly memorable. To call the nose “tertiary” is to be euphemistic. Basically, the wine smelt of decay, but a decay which counter-intuitively was entirely appealing. The fruit on the palate however was remarkably intact, flavours of red and black cherry to the fore. Bright acidity, meanwhile, lent real refreshment value while next to a hunk of rare steak, the tannins appeared almost non-existent. Under the circumstances, entirely academic to score the wine.

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  1. ChristianFebruary 13, 2012 at 4:24 pmReplyAuthor

    It’s worth noting that this wine was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon (confirmed by Rustenberg) whereas most of its counterparts of this era purporting to be single variety would’ve had contained no more than 50% of what was specified on the label.

  2. Shane GordonFebruary 9, 2012 at 8:52 pmReply

    Wine is truly about friends, friendship and occasions and often brings forth great generosity. I gave a tasting a few years ago to a group of friends and some members of the Tygerbergse Wyn Proewers Gulde. We had an excellent tasting including Domaine Vacheron Sancerre 2008, Chateau Carbonnieux 2008, Trimbach Riesling 2001 Cuvee Frederc Emile, Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru – Les Fourchames Vielle Vignes 2006, Lamy Pillot Chassagne Montrachet 2005, Condieu 2006 les Vins de Vienne, Fleurie 2008 Bouchard Pere et Fils, Simon Bize Savigne le Beune Aux Grands Liards 20055, Chateau Lynch Bages 1998, Cote Rotie Cuvee Terroirs 2002 Domaine Rene Rostaing and Chateau Puech Haut 2000 Languedoc, A tasty little line up. This was obviously not enough and only seemed to get everyone going to the extent that calls were made and very promptly a GS 1966 Cab/S was delivered and a Chateau Libertas 1980 Meerlust Rubicon 1986 and a Viliera Cab/S 1988 magically appeared. Lot to say for wine friends. What a night.

  3. JohanFebruary 8, 2012 at 6:04 pmReply

    Thanks Francois, as the friend that gave you the bottle I release you from your caretaking responsibilities of this bottle.  Opening such a bottle is an occasion, all I can suggest is that you invite only a select few to ensure that there is enough for you. Cheers!

  4. Francois SchaapFebruary 8, 2012 at 12:25 pmReply

    Was given the same bottel for my 30th by a good friend and 10 years on still in tact in the cellar. Have sort of given up on the botle, i.e. emotional value out weighs the potential down side of a wine past its prime… Thanks Christian for pushing me over the edge!

  5. Angela LloydFebruary 8, 2012 at 10:12 amReply

    Savouring a lovely old wine (even if it is much younger than oneself!) gives me a sense of awe and makes me feel very humble. How amusing too to think of events and what people looked like at the time. It was the year I did my grand tour of South Africa, what was then still Rhodesia and Mozambique. Oh, those LM prawns at the Polana – can still taste them! (Can’t remember the wine though!)

  6. KwispedoorFebruary 8, 2012 at 10:07 amReply

    My modest wine moments are a lot more modest…

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