Wine of the Week: Meerlust Rubicon 2021

Wine of the Week: Meerlust Rubicon 2021
published on:

Our Wine of the Week is the iconic and timeless 2021 Meerlust Rubicon Bordeaux red blend.

Long recognised for producing world-class wines, Meerlust Estate has been the pride of the Myburgh family since 1756. Today, the traditional dedication to the art of winemaking continues under the guidance of Hannes Myburgh, eighth generation custodian of this seventeenth-century national monument.

Meerlust, with its historic manor house, classic wine cellar, family cemetery, dovecote, and bird sanctuary is situated fifteen kilometers south of Stellenbosch, with the blue crescent of False Bay a mere five kilometers away. Wines are only made from grapes grown on the Estate which is uniquely positioned for the production of wines with exceptional complexity and character.

Meerlust Estate produces a variety of fine red wines – such as the Rubicon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir – and only one white wine, a Chardonnay.

The Rubicon Bordeaux red blend, now in its 2021 vintage, is the jewel of the estate’s wine collection.

The birth of Meerlust Rubicon

"Alea iacta est (the die is cast)!" These were the immortal words attributed to Roman army commander Julius Caesar as he committed his troops to crossing the Rubicon River and advancing upon Rome to wrest sole control over the ancient city from the senate and its ruling triumvirate of consuls in 49 BC.

In much the same way as the soldier who would be emperor led Rome into its golden age, so did the late Nico Myburgh, Meerlust's seventh-generation owner and vintner, commit his pioneering vision of a Cape version of the classic Bordeaux red blend to bottle in 1980.

Launched on the local wine market in 1984, the aptly named Rubicon ushered in a significant, internationally recognised new style of wine in South Africa. It was one of only three such blends made at the time: Overgaauw and Welgemeend were the other two pioneers. Rubicon itself was headed for iconic status, revered here and worldwide for its consistent, understated elegance and refinement.

The birth of Meerlust Rubicon in 1980 occurred against a backdrop of political events in South Africa almost as tumultuous as those of Ancient Rome. The battle of long-oppressed black South Africans to be allowed their full democratic rights as citizens had been taken to the streets, answered with increasingly draconian government controls. The result was international economic sanctions against South Africa, which affected the local wine industry as much as any other sector by limiting growth.

As the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 and the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994 saw the country welcomed back into the international fold, connoisseurs the world over became even more familiar with Meerlust Rubicon.

The farm’s 300th anniversary in 1993 was celebrated, in part, with Meerlust wines’ debut in the United States, by which time it was listed in top London establishments (Sir Terence Conran's Quaglinos and Pont de la Tour, and Aspinalls).

Today Rubicon is found in over 30 markets, from New York to Beijing.

Meerlust Rubicon 2021

Meerlust Rubicon 2021 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (48%), Merlot (46%), Cabernet Franc (5%), and Petit Verdot (1%).

The Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vineyards were hand harvested in summer 2021 and each individual vineyard block was, as always, kept separate throughout the fermentation process and monitored until the moment of blending. The alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel after which the wine is run off into 300 litre French oak barrels.

In wintertime, after eight months of fermentation allowed the personality of each vineyard to assert itself in barrel, the Meerlust winemakers carefully assessed the components to ensure they produce the most expressive, harmonious and complex wine possible. They then assembled the blend, and gave it another 10 months in barrel for harmonisation before bottling. The 2021 vintage of the Rubicon sees the more mature Merlot vineyards coming to the fore with almost equal part Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the final blend.

Meerlust Rubicon 2021 exhibits a deep, dense colour with an almost purple hue. It shows the quintessential Rubicon nose with violets, ripe plum, cedar wood, fennel, and intense spiciness, underscored by hints of liquorice. Still young and intense, the wine’s palate is full bodied and structured, but packed with fresh dark fruit and rounded tannins, seamlessly integrated with oak.

The best is yet to come for this wine. With an aging potential of 10 to 20 years under ideal cellar conditions, the Meerlust Rubicon 2021 promises an unforgettable journey of discovery for enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.

The Meerlust Rubicon was awarded 5 Stars in the 2024 Platter’s South African Wine Guide. The Platter’s judges described it as follows: “A Cape classic, pioneer Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot-led Bordeaux blend, typically bold, assertive and brawny yet precisely poised. Delightful earthy mineral core, with iodine and intense blackcurrant, and graphite and delicate leafy highlights.”

The Meerlust winemaking team is committed to ensuring that Rubicon becomes even more distinguished and continues to occupy its rightful place amongst the finest wines in the world.

Become part of the legacy. You can purchase this iconic red wine online via’s online shop,



This article originally appeared on Cape Tourism, as part of a collaboration with

  +27.218433587       +27.218433274
Meerlust Estate Baden Powell Drive P.O. Box 7121 , Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa