2007 Rustenberg John X Merriman Stellenbosch (Elsewhere $30)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright ruby-red. Aromas of plum, minerals, graphite, licorice and mint. Big and rich but firmly structured and tight. Bright acidity--and a smaller percentage of merlot than usual--give this Bordeaux blend a youthful toughness. Finishes savory, solidly tannic and long. Lay this down and forget it for a good seven or eight years." According to the Wine Spectator: "Dark and toasty, offering currant, fig and boysenberry fruit flavors all laced with a pronounced green olive note, with a twangy iron hint weaving through the finish. A touch rustic in the end, but will have some fans for sure. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Drink now through 2011. (12/10)
Strong aromas of cassis, cocoa nibs, fresh mint sprigs, black currant leaf and licorice are the first things you experience with this wine. After that, the creamy mouth provides loads of black berry, plum and anise flavors that stay through the finish. A firmly structured and well-balanced Bordeaux-style blend.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Dark and toasty, offering currant, fig and boysenberry fruit flavors all laced with a pronounced green olive note, with a twangy iron hint weaving through the finish. A touch rustic in the end, but will have some fans for sure. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
Rustenberg remains for me one of the most consistent producers in South Africa, and the 2007 "John X" continues that tradition. The bouquet offers notes of cedar, pencil lead, dark plum, currant, earth, coco powder and a hint of herbs. On the palate, there are fine integrated tannins with good acidity that lend a juicy mouth-feel, and at this point a more supple wine than the Tanzer review would suggest and showing fine length. This is without a doubt one of the best $20 in the store and reminded me of Pichon Lalande which is ironic because the former owner of that Chateau is now their neighbor at Glenelly. (Jim Chanteloup K&L South African Wine Buyer)