Waterford’s Kevin Arnold, who was involved in the conception of first Delheim Grand Reserve and then Rust en Vrede Estate, describes his flagship red blend called The Jem as “the culmination of a dream”.
The wine might essentially be seen as “North meets South”, involving the grapes associated with Bordeaux combined with those of Spain, southern France and Italy.
Yesterday, the 2005, 2007 and 2009 vintages side by side and it would appear that Arnold and team are travelling on a steeply upward learning curve.
58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Shiraz, 11% Mourvèdre, 7% Malbec, 7% Merlot, 2% Sangiovese and 3% Barbera. Red fruit, a slight vegetal quality and some earthiness. Relativley medium bodied with fresh acidity and pleasing tannic grip. Has rustic appeal.
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Shiraz, 7.5% Malbec, 7.5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Mourvèdre, 2.5% Sangiovese, 2.5% Barbera. Red and black berries, floral perfume plus a subtle herbal note. Great fruit concentration, layers of flavour, fresh acidity and fine tannins. Suitably “cool” in the mouth, austere on the finish.
2009 (Current releas – price: R725)
36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Shiraz, 9% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, 5% Mourvèdre, 2% Barbera. Optimally ripe red and black fruit and intense spice on the nose and palate. Great definition, fresh acidity and fine tannins. Full bodied but all of a piece. Still extremely primary but lovely structure and balance.