Stellenbosch, South Africa. 14.3%
58% Cabernet, 33% Shiraz, 9% Merlot.
The top wine from this producer, regularly listed in Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines of the year. As was this vintage and rated 92 points.
Smokey vegetal aromas appear to be a house style (see my previous review of their shiraz) but are quite extreme on this wine. I was sure it was mercaptan spoilage – offputting to say the least.
Or was it just the combination of this style with this particular grape blend ? So I compared it to Tin Shed’s 2002 similar blend a syrupy fruit bomb of a wine but the flavours did suggest that this Rust en Vrede’s weird taste isn’t necessarily mercaptan, but a due to the blend plus some smokey vegetal characters.
No matter what the cause it’s an odd drink. Thick quite sweet/syrupy as many South African reds are, with the fruit unable to shine above the vegetal characters. Had to drink/stomach.
PS A blend of this with the Ten Shed was better than either wines alone.