‘Another exquisite vintage with Grand Vin potency and an overt, unbridled determination to deliver long-term drinking pleasure.’ – Greg Sherwood MW, 96+ points
The 2015 Rubicon became the fastest-selling Rubicon ever. With 2017 vying for ‘vintage of the decade‘ in Stellenbosch, the much-anticipated 2017 Rubicon is sure to follow in its tracks. From great vintages, Rubicons age gracefully, offering drinking pleasure many years from release, and this is certainly one of those long-ageing ‘greats’.
In contrast to the more powerful 2015, the 2017 is more elegant and refined – starting shy but with lovely perfume and classic Meerlust freshness. Yet there is a depth and structural integrity to the 2017, which seems to point to a wine of greater pedigree; just eclipsing the 2015. It has that sense of grace and seamless integration we have come to expect of the iconic Rubicons.
‘I knew instantly that we were in for another exceptional release of Rubicon.’ – Greg Sherwood MW, 96+ points
The Rubicon is a classic Bordeaux red – the oldest in South Africa – and has been a Cape benchmark since it was first released in 1980. As always, the 2017 is Cabernet Sauvignon-led and the smart use of oak (60% new French oak) has added the necessary finishing touches to this flagship. Still tightly coiled, it deserves some time in the cellar.
With a track record spanning 4 decades, this is one of the most collectible South African wines with an established following on the secondary market.
Meerlust, Rubicon 2017
The 2017 Rubicon is a classical blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, each vinified separately before undergoing malolactic fermentation in 300 litre French Nevers oak barrels, 60% new and 40% second fill. Deep purple-black in colour, the intensity and gravitas of this vintage is highlighted by the tight, dense, dark broody aromatics that require more than a little coaxing out the glass before revealing a very focused, slightly introverted bouquet of complex, tightly interwoven notes of violets, black currant preserve, black plum, Black Forest gateaux and hoisin sauce with backing notes of dried fennel, salty black liquorice, spicy cedar and an exotic Asian 5 spice nuance. While 2017 certainly stands out as another classical year of exceptional quality, the vintage will surely be remembered for its stand-out elegance, seamless palate textures and its signature weightless intensity and concentration. This Rubicon does of course possess plenty of stuffing and dazzles with gentle waves of blackberry crumble, crème de cassis, macerated black cherries, freshly tilled earth, unsmoked smoked cigars and a finely textured, powdery tannin frame that dries the palate on the finish and reminds the drinker that this wine, however enjoyable in its youth, is also built for extended ageing. This really is another exquisite vintage with charm and poise, Grand Vin potency and an overt, unbridled determination to deliver long-term drinking pleasure. Drink from 2022 to 2040+. – Greg Sherwood MW, 96+/100
Celebrated Cab-based Bordeaux flagship since debut 1980. 2017 Cab increased from 49% in 2016 (4.5 stars, 93 pts) to 68%, with Merlot, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot. Classic, elegant; dark berry, cedary scents still introverted, though suggest depth & future complexity. Firm structure. 60% new oak. – Platter’s Guide, 5* (95/100)
Closed notes, but leaner and more elegant than 2015. Slight mint edge with raspberry and cassis. Finely textured yet, dark and rich. Bold, structured, and earthy tannins with lots of depth, power and balance. It will be great to compare with the more burly 2015 over time. Drink 2032-2048. – Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions, 94+/100