There's something to be said for South African classics that can be relied upon to always deliver. The Anthonij Rupert Optima is one of these wines.
What a glorious nose of liquorice, cloves, pencil shavings, smoky tobacco, freshly hewn cedar wood, molten chocolate, dark cherries, dark plums, and loads of cassis. But there’s also a brightness to the aromas.
This wine is young and needs time...aka a double decant, vigorous swirling...and 24 hours later I found the medley of fruits: at first, red and black plums, fresh ripe cherries, earthy pomegranate juice and hibiscus swell with red fruited verve lifted by the acidity. But as the wave crests it gives way to deeper plum, blueberries and an undercurrent of diluted cassis...finally washing into dried lavender and black tea.
Vini + Viti:
34% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot.
"The whole berries are double-sorted in the
cellar using an optical sorting machine...". Fermented to dry in a combination of French oak and stainless steel, followed by an extended period of maceration. Each of the components was matured separately in 225L French
oak barrels (30% new) for 20 months.
It has the denseness of a dark chocolate cake but cut with a bright raspberry coulis, enthusiastic acidity, tannins that are pleasant while still delivering structure, an acceptable length, heat that is noticeable even to me, and I question the palate intensity. But at R230, it’s a darned good wine that, if you possess the patience and inclination, would reward you with great value if given the appropriate ageing period.
Many thanks to the Anthonij Rupert team for gifting both this 2020 (the latest release), as well as their 2019 (that’s waiting for a better food and weather appropriate pairing moment).