Waterford The Jem 2009

Outside the box.

Outside the box.

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.

2005
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.

Score: 88/100.

2007
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.

Score: 91/100.

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.

Score: 93/100.

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5 Comments

  1. DavidJune 6, 2013 at 1:14 pmReply

    Hi Christian, were the wines decanted before tasting etc? How long were they open for? cheers, drc

    • ChristianJune 6, 2013 at 2:45 pmReplyAuthor

      The wines were decanted, approximately two hours before being tasted.

      • DavidJune 6, 2013 at 3:08 pm

        Cool. Important info I reckon.

  2. ChristianJune 6, 2013 at 12:00 pmReplyAuthor

    The thing about any vintage of The Jem is you don’t really know where you are in the world – both a strength and a weakness. I think in time it will come to taste very much of Waterford and then I want some extra points to play with!

  3. Hennie @ BatonageJune 6, 2013 at 11:52 amReply

    Geez you’re stingy with your points! I reckon that 09 is worth at least a 94, maybe even 95. What a stonker!

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