Wine Talk

Snooth User: Kevin Lo

Meerlust Rubicon '04

Posted by Kevin Lo, Aug 9, 2012.

Hi all,

Im a beginner in wine tasting and I just found a bottle of Rubicon '04 from my cellar, i would like to know if any of you have ever tasted this before?

Should I leave it to age or finish it? 




Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 10, 2012.

I haven't had SA Cab in a long time--like, since my wife came back from a trip there.  The burned rubber problem kind of put me off for a while, and I drink less cab than I used to.  Back then, probably around the time this wine was released, I didn't keep notes.  For all I know, she brought back this wine, but I have no recollection.  (She did bring back wine from Stellenbosch--you kind of have to.) But I looked around and this seems to be in its recommended drinking window.  CT said 2009-2018, suggesting it's the beginning to early middle of the window.  The notes indicated that people who like this wine in other vintages as well find it drinks older than it is. In 2008, WS said it had the ability to soften in the cellar, and said "Drink now through 2013," which is not long lived for a mostly cab wine and suggests it's probably a good idea to drink now.  Wine Enthusiast said, "the wine will age well," which, for a wine like this should mean it'll peak somewhere down the road, say, 2019-2029 or possibly later. K&L's buyer said, "While drinkable now, there is the stuffing to reward time in the cellar," again suggesting a long-lived wine. 

Hope my 5 minute research project helped.  I always get interested in these questions, and hopefully this will provoke other Snoothers to jump in.

Reply by Kevin Lo, Aug 10, 2012.

Thx Foxall,

I appreciate your help and the "5 min speech" :P 

Thx again for the help :)

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 10, 2012.

Oops, didn't mean for it to sound that way, just trying to let you know I didn't spend a ton of time so my knowledge base was kind of thin.

Reply by Kevin Lo, Aug 10, 2012.

No really, your info helped me a lot and I really appreciate it ;)  like I said, I'm only a beginner so there are still tons of knowledge that I needed to learn from you guys! 

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 10, 2012.

These drinking windows are so all over the map, and you always have to wonder how the magazines in particular come up with those.  Most of the data was gleaned from K&L's out of stock database, which doesn't always show up in searches from Google and oddly never seems to show in a search at K&L, but it's quote heavy if you don't have accounts with WS and the rest.  JJBuckley's website searches any wine they have ever carried, so that's a good place, although the blurbs tend to be shorter than K&Ls so offer fewer quotes. also can be searched and will usually pop up stuff even if it's out of stock. On this one, K&L had pretty much all the info in one place.

If you know where you bought it, you could ask the store, esp if they have some expertise in SA wines.  Or you could check the winery website or a blog that specializes in South African wine. 

Oddly, there's not a ton of discussion of SA wines on here--even less than Australia and South America.  For whatever reason, I find myself drinking weird Italian stuff like narello mascalese or pecorino from Italy rather than Cab or Sauv Blanc from places like Australia and SA.  I think that happens a lot here.  Shame because SA has made wine from Europe's great varietals longer than just about anyone else--mostly French like Chenin and Cab.  But they are hard to find and not exactly cheap.  Then there was that whole burnt rubber thing. 

Reply by Kevin Lo, Aug 11, 2012.

Roger on all the info that you have provided to me, it's always great to have someone like you to teach beginners like me. For some reason I couldnt find many reviews on SA wines here, and anywhere else...

However, Im curious about your specialties in wine, like, what do you drink most of the time? What are your preferred wines? 

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 13, 2012.

That would be a response so off-topic that I will send you a message, but leave it public for anyone who wants to know. 

That aside, this site does have a dearth of information about S.A. wines, at least on the forum.  I don't think that's all that unusual, since it's hard for SA wines (or Hungarian or Slovenian) wines to get traction on sites since they don't already have a big mind-share.  Up until a while ago, we had a veritable expert in Aussie wines (StephenHarvey, whose disappearance worries us all--now that some of us are linked in the offline world with real names and phone numbers, it shouldn't happen to those folks), but now we lack even that.  SH was great, and had depth in French and New World wines, too, so there was a good reference point.  But SA hasn't really gotten a ton of play.  Spain gets play because GregT is a part-time importer and I'm just a huge fan and it's in Europe, but look at neglected Portugal.  Traction begets traction, unfortunately.  So maybe I'll start getting more curious and allocate my wine budget to SA for a while. 

Reply by Snoother 1417117, Nov 30, 2013.

Bought a case of the 2004 few years back.  Just opned a bottle yesterday...

When I bought it, the wine talks at the time said that 2004 was a transition year for Meerlust.  They used to follow Mouton Rothschild but in 2004 they changed.  The bottles I opened at that time would be considered big wines,  maybe just under MR or Latour.  When I opened the bottle this time, it is a much softer wine, and it remained so after a day of breathing.   I recently opened a couple of bottles of 1970 & 71 MR.  They retained a better nose and stronger palate.  The Meerlust 2004 is a softer wine closer to a Margaux although with less complexity.

My guess is that Meerlust probably drinks better when younger, maybe 5-6 years.  That can be a good thing.




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