2012 Rustenberg "John X Merriman" Proprietary Red Stellenbosch

SKU #1263123 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2012 John X Merriman is a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot with Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec filling in the gaps. Spending 20 months in oak, 35% new, it has a dark plum and blackcurrant-scented bouquet that is more primal than other vintages I have encountered at this stage. The palate is medium-bodied with tobacco-tinged black fruit. This is supple, almost soft in the mouth that lends an easy drinking texture, but it clearly deserves a couple more years in bottle for those tannins on the finish to melt. One of South Africa's most consistent brands and still great value. (NM)  (9/2015)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec; aged for 20 months in French barrels, 35% new): Bright red-ruby. Mellow, inviting scents of currant, plum, graphite, cigar box and smoky oak. Silky on entry, then quite firm in the middle, with red berry, mocha and spice flavors firmed on the back end by dusty tannins. A touch of sweetness (3.3 g/l r.s.) is nicely hidden by ripe acidity. Not a particularly big wine considering its 14% alcohol, this stands out for its clarity and class.  (6/2015)

Wine Spectator

 This offers bay, mint and pepper notes out front, backed by lightly mulled black currant and blackberry fruit flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now through 2017. (Web Only-2016) (JM)

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Price: $29.99

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

South Africa

- Now that it has adopted a multi-racial attitude, and now that the world has embraced its government and its exports, South Africa has become a major wine producer. Unfortunately, South Africa has had a difficult time joining the ranks of competitive winemaking countries. During the anti-apartheid sanctions in the 1980s, South African wine was dealt the huge blow when it was removed from the international market, and for political reasons it was quite difficult for wine producers to market wine to the black majority. Things are finally looking up for the wine industry here, and quality has never been higher. South Africa produces a grape cloned from Pinot Noir and Cinsault, called Pinotage, which is the country's unique varietal. Chenin Blanc (known as Steen) makes up one-third of its vines. Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz are becoming increasingly popular as are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Click for a list of bestselling items from South Africa.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.6