Wines Merely to Lust After
Experience 4.0 Stellenbosch Wine 4.5

Wines Merely to Lust After

MEERLUST
Friday 1 March 2019
http://www.meerlust.co.za/

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 4.5/5

Meerlust is one of those famous, historic South African wine estates that one just has to visit. Today, I was visiting the estates South of Stellenbosch. I had just tasted at the excellent Vergenoegd Löw Estate. Meerlust was barely 5 kilometres to the North and so too good an opportunity not to miss. As I drove down the palm tree-lined approach road, I was surprised I had not tasted at Meerlust before. I parked beside the ancient white-washed farm buildings with their olive green, heritage windows. Outside, the staff cleaned barrels in the sunshine.

Meerlust

Meerlust

The Tasting Room was simple and unstated – but for the museum poster and other art pictures that personally were collected by the Meerlust owner – though nonetheless welcoming. There was a quiet air of grandeur to complement the serious business of wine tasting. There was no choice of wines to taste here, or numerous collections of entry, premium and reserve wines. Carol, my tasting host, explained that there were 5 wines to taste (R30). Each wine was set out on the low wooded counter and with a laminated Tasting Note beside it. I felt as if I had to whisper such was the silent authority of the wines and ambience.

Meerlust

Meerlust

I liked the Chardonnay immediately. Medium yellow in colour yet clear in appearance, the wine showed its quality by an intense and complex nose of sweet baked apple, lemon and vanilla. The oak maturation (10 months in 50% new and used French barrels) showed on the smooth and creamy palate. The balance was excellent with the oak complementing but not over-powering the fruit flavours.

Meerlust

Meerlust

Meerlust has been in the hands of the Myburgh family since it was bought by Johannes Myburgh in 1756. Hannes, the present owner is the 8th generation member. The old photo behind the tasting counter shows him when he was 32 years old, together with his father and the previous winemaker. The estate grows all its vines on 110 hectares of the 400 hectare property. Red wines dominate (90% of production) with all the main varieties planted – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, together with Chardonnay.

Meerlust

Meerlust

I was surprised to see Pinot Noir on the Tasting Menu, at least until Carol explained that Meerlust lies on a granite outcrop just 5 kilometres from False Bay. The first owner, German immigrant Henning Huising, I learned after, gave the name to Meerlust in 1693. It means ‘pleasure of the sea’. The Pinot Noir was very pale in ruby red colour. It was another well crafted wine with a distinct savoury, meaty nose – I am tempted to call it biltong – that balanced the spicy, bitter sweet cherry and cranberry notes. The weight of the wine on the palate was a light as the colour, almost too lightweight for my preference.

Meerlust

Meerlust

The Merlot was weightier and from one of South Africa’s best recent vintages, 2015. I had to ask for a fresh glass as the smoky Pinot Noir notes were still present. The wine showed warm red plum and cherry fruits and a good acidity. Textured tannins, with the added structure from 15% combined Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, were tight but not overly astringent.

Meerlust

Meerlust

I read later that Nicholas Myburgh, father of the present owner, took over the farm in 1950. He restored much of the Manor House and outbuildings. The wine cellar, which houses the Tasting Room, was built in 1776. It originally was the wagon house for the estate. The Cabernet Sauvignon was another serious wine that showed classic deep-ruby colour, juicy but not jammy, red and dark fruits and a deep structured, intense palate. This is a wine to keep and age.

Meerlust

Meerlust

I was joined by a group of foreign tourists and their South African guide for the final wine of the tasting, the iconic Meerlust Rubicon. In conversation, I learned that their leader was none other than Francois ‘Duimpie’ Bayly, one of the first three Cape Wine Masters. The Rubicon is a Bordeaux-style blend. It has been made since 1980, with each year expressing a different character and personality. Julius Caesar is said to have said ‘alea iata est’ or ‘the die is cast’ when with his troops he crossed the River Rubicon on his way to Rome in 49BC. The name Rubicon was given to the first vintage as there was ‘no turning back’ from making a blend from the estate Bordeaux cultivars, used at the time primarily to make single variety wines.

Meerlust

Meerlust

The Rubicon was my favourite wine of the tasting. Similar in appearance to the Cabernet Sauvignon that makes up nearly 2/3 of the blend, the wine had a brooding intensity of complex redcurrant, cassis, plum and bramble fruit flavours. These seamlessly followed through to the palate that showed depth and a smooth intensity. It was very drinkable now but will improve further if aged for another 15 to 30 years.

Meerlust

Meerlust

The tasting was short and sweet. The Meerlust wines showed their class and were of obvious quality, as the estate’s reputation for excellence suggests. After, I was disappointed to find out so much more about this historic estate that I would have enjoyed learning about whilst tasting. Meerlust is not alone in this and I am slightly at a loss to wonder why. I am sure the American tourists with Duimpie, who adore anything of age, would have been fascinated to know the story behind the Rubicon and more of the estate’s history. This was not why I did not buy any wines at this tasting. The wines were expensive compared to many adjacent estates, with prices starting at R250 per bottle (a bargain for the American tourists) but priced at a level consistent with their quality (all are 2019 Platter’s Guide 4½ star wines).

Meerlust

Meerlust

For the moment, at least, I shall just have to lust after them …

Wines tasted (bought *):

White:

2017 Chardonnay – R250

Red:

2017 Pinot Noir – R300
2015 Merlot – R315
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – R345
2015 Rubicon (61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot) – R430 FAVOURITE WINE

Meerlust

 

You Might Also Like

Hout Bay Vineyards – Simply the Best!

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Red and White Wines with Frog’s ‘Legs’

Around the (Old) World in 18 Hours – starting with the European Cuvée!

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Of Female Rugby Players and Ballet Dancers! Let’s Continuously Study Very Seriously: Wines of the Loire and Northern Rhône

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Well Hosted and Enjoyable – Even Though I did not Experience at its Best

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Dornier Disappoints

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

Speed Tasting with Sommelier ‘Royalty’ at my First SASA Meeting

Lemberg Punches Above its Weight

Boutique de Brendel

Swallowing Fine Wines at Paserene

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

SMV, SMG, GSM – BLICS and PAPERCLIPS!

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Scary Jan Harmsgat Delivers Elegant Wines

Dave Goes Down Under and the Wines Go Up

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Peter Falke Didn’t Knock my Socks Off

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Altitudes with Wine!

Red Chair in the Morning

Wines from the Orchards at Le Pommier

Real Wines in the Place of God

Bartinney Clings to the Mountain

A Myth, a Princess, History and Destruction, 2 Names and 4 Styles – Shiraz with Pizzazz

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Well and Truly Oaked!

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Opening the Book at Elgin Vintners

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Exciting, Excellent Keermont

Mutual Attraction

More Still at Tanagra

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Sa-Bot-Riveur!

The Italian Collection at the Vineyard

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Back to the Future in the Berg of Paarl

Wonderful Grapes at the Vineyard Hotel

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Diemersdal has Six Appeal

Satisfaction in Getting My Ducks (and Wines) in a Row

Taint, Mould, Sweet-Sour, Elastoplast, Stale Honey, Bee Wax and Potato Skin With the Wine Prof

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

High Living on the Stoep Sipping Aged, Luscious Red Wines

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

No Black Marks at Raka

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Anysbos a Wine Estate to Look Out For

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Pedigree Stud Grub at Cavalli

Wine Dinners are Not For Me

Peter Puts into Hermanus

A Cracker and a Stormer at Paul Wallace

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Where Eagles Care

On the Left, but then on the Right …

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

Rickety Tram Passengers at Rickety Bridge

Syrah Pillars of Excellence at Haskell

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

An Early Start at Rietvallei

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Always a Favourite – Guaranteed to Delight

The Bestbier Family produces Best Wines at Goede Hoop

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Good Things Come in Twos – at Southern Right too!

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Great Value in the Swartland

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Second Helping – and Tasting – at Oak Valley

Beyond Expectation

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

Au Revoir France!

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

It’s High Time Again

‘Out of the Office’ at Groot Constantia

Lost and Found at Lomond – 100s!

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Iconic Steenberg

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Classic(al) to Barrique – De Morgenzon Hits all the Right Notes

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

More than Just a Destination

South over the Hills in Elgin

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Wine Passions Mounted at Cavalli

Blush-endal!

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Hard Graft without Grafts at Abingdon Wines – No Hail to the Monkeys

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

New Branding for Old-enburg is Perfect

I-own-a Wine Farm!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *