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Rustenberg John X Merriman 2019

  • Rustenberg has a wine-growing history dating back to 1682, when Roelof Pasman from Meurs, near the Rhine, recognised its wine-growing potential. By 1781 some 3000 cases of wine were produced on the farm. Production doubled by the end of the century and a new cellar was built. Wine has been bottled at this cellar for an unbroken period since 1892.

    In the early 1800s Rustenberg was divided by owner Jacob Eksteen and a section was given to his son-in-law, who named it Schoongezicht and sold it soon after. Rustenberg and Schoongezicht were at their peak around 1812, with beautiful homesteads and flourishing vineyards. But by mid-century, recession coupled with disease in the vines, brought bankruptcy and dispossession.

    Schoongezicht was rescued in 1892 by John X Merriman (who was to become Prime Minister of the Cape), and Rustenberg by his brother-in-law Sir Jacob Barry. Together they revitalised the farms. Fruit was sent to Covent Garden; new vines were grafted onto disease-resistant American rootstock; wines were exported to England and the Continent – and even found in Siberia.

    In 1941 Peter and Pamela Barlow bought Rustenberg, later acquiring Schoongezicht and reuniting the properties. Their son Simon took over the running of the farm in 1987. Simon’s son, Murray, joined in the running of the farm with his father in 2012. The Barlows have been at Rustenberg for over 75 years: the longest period any one family has owned the farm.

    Rustenberg Wines is renowned for producing award-winning, internationally acclaimed wines.

    This wine is named in honour of a former owner of Rustenberg, John Xavier Merriman, who bought the farm in 1892 in sympathy with farmers suffering from the phylloxera crisis. He played a great role in revitalizing Rustenberg and in promoting the tourism and agricultural value of Ida’s Valley, the area close to the town of Stellenbosch in which Rustenberg is situated.

    The wine itself is a Bordeaux-style blend, with all of the fruit coming from the Estate, and made predominantly from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the greater of which depends on which varietal has a better showing over the other in any vintage. The John X Merriman is therefore a wonderful representation of the Estate, as well as the characteristics of a vintage.


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