This ancient property was one of the first in South Africa to offer a high-quality Bordeaux-style blend, and it remains a benchmark for Stellenbosch wines. Meerlust has been in the hands of the Myburgh family since 1756, and the incumbent now, as in 1995, is Hannes Myburgh, who represents the eighth generation of his family. Although the precise proportions of the Meerlust blend do vary from vintage to vintage, the wine is always dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, which comprises about 70% of the blend. Stellenbosch may in recent years have produced Bordeaux blends with greater power or concentration, but few can match Rubicon for sheer finesse.
Rubicon was first produced in 1980, after Nico Myburgh, the father of Hannes, visited Bordeaux and perceived that its climate was similar to that of Stellenbosch. Always intended as a top-of-the range wine, it is not made in every vintage. Thus no Rubicon was produced in 1985 or 1990. In such years the fruit is used for Meerlust’s varietal wines from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The ebullient and perfectionist Giorgio Della Cia was the winemaker of this 1995 vintage, and had come to South Africa from his native Friuli in Italy to establish a distillery. He decided to stay on and joined Meerlust in 1978. He eventually retired in 2003, and was replaced the following year by Chris Williams. Williams had been Della Cia’s assistant winemaker in 1995.