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Tasted in early 2018, the Rubicon 2015 is showing all of the hallmarks of a great, classic vintage of Rubicon. Incredibly dense purple-ebony core with very slight gradation at the rim. The nose is brooding, dark bramble fruit, cassis, plum, incense and liquorice, it is still very tightly coiled, slowly offering cigar box, crushed stone and subtle oak spice. On the palate the wine is concentrated yet restrained with dark fruit flavours of pastille, mulberry and dark chocolate, all held in an intricate lattice of polished sleek grape tannin. Still very young yet approachable, this Rubicon promises a long future of maturation and enjoyment.
Pairing: Your finest roast leg of lamb, garlic mashed potatoes and green vegetables.
Ageing Potential: 15 – 30 years, provided wine is stored in ideal cellar conditions.
Blend Information: 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot
In The Vineyard: The Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on low yielding, predominantly biotite partially decomposed granite gravel topsoil rich in quartz and feldspar to a depth of approximately 600mm with a loamy clay subsoil. The Merlot vineyards are planted on more clay rich, yet well drained soils to ensure moisture retention and availability to the vines roots right through the summer. There are considerable deposits of iron-rich Laterite in the Merlot vineyards which accentuates the fruit definition and mineral profile of the wine.
The Cabernet Franc Vineyard is situated on very well drained, stony Vilafontes soil with approximately 20% clay which is ideal for this variety.The Petit Verdot is on Oakleaf 3 soils on a northerly aspect to ensure full phenolic ripeness
About The Harvest: All the vineyards were green harvested during veraison to reduce yield, increase concentration and fruit definition.
The cold wet winter of 2014 and early spring were ideal to promote very even canopy development and good fruit set. Extensive canopy management, leaf removal and bunch selection was practiced to ensure a uniformly ripe and healthy crop. 2015 is widely acknowledged as superb vintage in the Cape and this is clearly evident in our Rubicon 2015. All the vineyards were green harvested during veraison to reduce yield, increase concentration and fruit definition. The cold winter and mild spring were ideal to promote very even canopy development and good fruit set. Good winter rains in 2012 ensured sufficient soil moisture in our clay-rich soils, particularly important for Merlot. The crop was healthy due to the ever- present prevailing South Easterly sea breezes. The fruit from each vineyard was harvested in small lots and fermented separately to monitor vineyard expression.
In The Cellar: Very early on we recognized that 2015 had the potential for true greatness, and so our viticulture and winemaking practices focused on capitalizing on the perfect weather conditions. Coupled with this, most of our vineyards over 2 decades old, ensuring perfect balance between vigour and crop size. The 2015 Rubicon is a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 % Merlot, 12 % Cabernet Franc and 4 % Petit Verdot, each variety was fermented separately before undergoing malolactic fermentation in 300 L barrels, 66% new French Nevers and 44% second fill casks. After 9 months in barrel, the components were blended and given another 9 months in barrel for harmonization before bottling
97+ pts Greg Sherwood MW
A mesmerizingly dark black purple colour, this youthful wine is wonderfully crystalline, focused and pure, possessing such pretty aromatics of cherry blossom, rose petals, caramelised cranberries, violets, cherry pie, raspberry infused herbal tea and a subtle creamy vanilla pod extravagance. The palate is ultra suave, opulent yet effortlessly fresh and defined, supremely balanced and concentrated. Such gorgeous depth and seamless elegance, a tantalizing brûléed buttered brown toast complexity, creamy filigree tannins and an incredibly long, spellbinding finish. This is going to be a definite future icon vintage on par with the very best Cru Classe wines produced in Bordeaux but at a fraction of the price. Get in early, get in quick, and go long. This is one of the most profound Rubicons of the modern era. Drink from 2020 to 2045+.
4 ½ Stars 2019 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Cab based flagship – 61% in 15 (93 pts) – with merlot, cab franc & petit verdot. The finest, most elegant of the reds, refined & intense, full of subtle flavour, with cigarbox overtones & classic dry herbal element. Tannin & acid fully involved in the whole, promising harmony. 14.1% alcohol, 66% new oak.
92 pts Vinous Aug 2018
The 2015 Rubicon had been a source of contention prior to my visit, hailed by some respected commentators as one of the Cape’s greats and then almost pilloried in a contemporaneous blind tasting. It is a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, each fermented separately before blending. It was matured for 18 months in 66% new oak and the remainder second-fill. So what do I make of the wine? It is clear in color with quite a deep core. The bouquet is refined and focused, offering attractive mint- and graphite-infused black and red fruit and perhaps leaning a little more toward the latter compared to previous vintages. With aeration, subtle touches of pencil shavings emerge. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannin and quite velvety in texture, displaying very well integrated new oak. There is a satisfying sense of harmony to this Rubicon and it is certainly well constructed, but it does not possess that peacock’s tail on the finish that takes a very good wine to the level of great. Perfectly enjoyable, and it demonstrates very good winemaking; however, when compared to, say, the 2015 Paul Sauer, it just falls a little short. [I tasted this sighted and then in a mini blind tasting to confirm.
92 pts The Wine Advocate (Neil Martin)
2017 SAWi Awards – Platinum