Meerlust Rubicon 1984

As I worked to open the bottle – unsurprisingly, the cork was a little bit soft and broke in two – my partner mentioned that not only was I a high school freshman when this wine was made, but that Nelson Mandela was still in prison as well. Yeah, that’s pretty old. 🙂

The nose is fairly delicate, definitely old, and not one hundred percent attractive; it smells a bit too musty, and there’s a hint of horehound, or medicinal camphor, or something along those lines; I can’t say for sure. To be honest, it smells like a Tandy leather crafts shop from the 1970s; it reminds me of making leather wallets at summer camp ages ago. In terms of color it’s rather faded, but still fairly dark.

In the mouth, it seemed corked for just a moment, but it’s more along the lines of unaired hatboxes than true TCA taint. Still, the fruit is still good, there’s some sweetness left hanging in there, and a lovely savor to the finish. There are very, very fine tannins here as well, giving it a lovely polish. In terms of what it tastes like I’m at a loss: I suppose that this is what a fine aged claret tastes like, and I’m afraid I may not be quite British enough to know how to describe this. There’s a lovely acidity supporting gentle red fruits awash in mellow tannin, and the experience is almost more of a sensual one than a tast-centered one. It’s plush, surprisingly so.

At nearly a quarter century old, this wine is in remarkably good shape. It’s also fantastic value.

Price: about $30 (purchased as part of a Rubicon vertical from the Southern Hemisphere Wine Center)
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2008v>

Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Once you get past the ridiculously overwrought bottle – it’s so big and heavy that no foil cutter I know of could possibly work – what you get is a wine that smells, well, expensive: generic New World Napa-esque fruit + some very expensive Bordeaux toast oak. Hm.The surprise is entirely in the mouth: the weight is much more French than Napa, and it tastes mostly of very high quality oak. It seems just a little bit watery and then it’s gone. There’s a very small amount of tannin – frankly, it feels wimpy – and then it’s gone. Again: Hm.I’ll come back to this later on and see if it improves, but as of right now, the bottle is the only thing that’s impressive here, which is odd considering their $8 wines are pretty good (the Porcupine Ridge line).Later: After an hour’s aeration, this started to taste like mesquite or cedar incense, the kind you’d be in an American national park on summer vacation. Cedar, cedar, cedar, and more cedar. Yawn. Kind of tasty, but utterly lacking in personality. Avoid.Boekenhoutskloof

Price: US $47
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: July 2008