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
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
Malbec has found a welcoming home in Stellenbosch,
flourishing along with the other Bordeaux red varietals that the region is
renowned for. The variety is best known in Stellenbosch for producing very
expressive wines that are more approachable in their youth than Cabernet and
Merlot, medium-bodied with fine tannins and a generous mid-palate. A great wine
to enjoy on its own or with a wide variety of roasted meats, Italian fare or
mushroom based dishes. As with all of Rustenberg’s red wines decanting before
serving is recommended.