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Meerlust Rubicon 2015

Meerlust Rubicon 2015
Drumroll, please.

What more to say about Rubicon 2015 from Stellenbosch property Meerlust subsequent to its 97+ rating from Greg Sherwood MW and wine buyer at Handford Wines in South Kensington, London (see here)?

A blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, the nose shows red and black fruit, an attractive herbal note, pencil shavings and oak spice. The palate is medium bodied and has a lovely composure about it – excellent fruit definition, zippy acidity and fine-grained tannins (alc: 14%). It’s being talked up as being able to last for decades and I think it will but not because of any massive structure but rather how pure and harmonious it is. It pretty much corresponds to your mind’s eye picture of what Rubicon at its best should taste like. Wine Cellar price: R375 a bottle.

Editor’s rating: 94/100.

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  1. Hi Christian, i have noted your ratings tend to be a lot lower than international critics of the sale wines. Do you think they are too generous, or is it just a South African thing we tend to do? Under-appreciate our wines?
    I’m specifically referring to the rubicon 2015, boschkloof 2014 and the paul sauer 2015, where you are 2-6 points behind British critics, Tim Atkin and Greg Sherwood?

    I am a complete novice to the wine game but an avid reader of reviews and just trying to understand the differences.


    • Hi James, Wine ratings are, as you will increasingly discover, one of the most controversial issues of the day. A couple of points: 1) It’s hardly a scientific exercise and I’d advise you to look at an individual’s scores as a body of work rather than in isolation as that will give you a better sense of hierarchy; 2). score inflation is a very real thing – very high scores necessarily generate hype which brings attention to both producer and critic – be aware of this; 3). I would argue scores of 95-plus should be reserved for only the very best wines in the world – it’s only logical that it should become increasingly difficult to attain the extra points the closer the producer gets to achieving the perfection that is implied by a score of 100.

      • Thanks for the insightful reply and I agree with you on all 3 points. If I may extend this further:

        2. How does a consumer then really know what to go after? I understand taste is a personal thing, but someone wanting to build up a cellar of fine wines, where would one start with ratings? As I understand it, the Atkin and Sherwood reports are not blind tasting the likes of a Rubicon or a Paul Sauer, so that would immediately create a placebo effect, if you will, for that wine but then again, these are surely standout wines in anyone’s books? I am on the lookout for great reds so do look for ratings from yourself, TA and GS.

        3. I agree on this front, but I guess what would be the benchmark? I can imagine it would be very difficult to discern, even for a pro, between say a Paul Sauer 2009, and a 2015? so where would the points differential come into? Perhaps a nudge to bring a farm into focus and put them on the map?

        All very fascinating.


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