Rustenberg John X Merriman 2005

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Another experiment in South African wines, this comes from a well respected producer of red blends. The nose on this Cabernet based blend was oaky and heavy in cassis (I find a lot of SA wines to be a bit too oaky or woody). However, while this was perhaps too oaky, the oak DID give structure and depth to the fruit that probably would not have been there otherwise. Simple, but concentrated flavour, this is pretty good for the price point and worth a try for those interested in exploring a more worldly milieu.

Very Good
$35 at BCLDB


  1. Joe
    September 10, 2008

    I always find a wild rusticity to SA wines – no matter what the grape, they always seem “South African”. I suspect the oak may be a part of it, but there is some animally aspect to all of them – most pronounced in Pinotage. You get more S.A. wine in BC than we do in Quebec.

  2. Shea
    September 10, 2008

    Hm, that is interesting. I can’t say I’ve tasted enough to make a generalization, but I certainly noticed that quality in the Merriman.

    We seem to have a ‘decent’ selection here, although we’re still missing a bunch of the top producer who seem to go exclusively to New York and London.

  3. Sam
    March 23, 2009

    First, I would not generalize a “south africaness” in wines from SA anymore. Maybe five-ten years ago. The technology is finally meeting skill down there. I would revisit this wine in a few years, one of my favorites. Also if you can get your hands on De Toren Fusion V you will have your socks blown off. Also Rustenberg Five soldiers chardonnay may be the best chardonnay i’ve tasted from the new world.



  4. Shea
    March 27, 2009

    Sam, I will check out the Fusion V – I have seen it around.

  5. Joe
    March 29, 2009

    Hi Sam – I hate to generalize about anything, especially wine regions, but my observation is more style/terroir than skill/technology – this is not a critique, as I love that “south africaness” that I detect in a well made S.A. wine.

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