The 2012 John X Merriman is a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot with Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec filling in the gaps. Spending 20 months in oak, 35% new, it has a dark plum and blackcurrant-scented bouquet that is more primal than other vintages I have encountered at this stage. The palate is medium-bodied with tobacco-tinged black fruit. This is supple, almost soft in the mouth that lends an easy drinking texture, but it clearly deserves a couple more years in bottle for those tannins on the finish to melt. One of South Africa's most consistent brands and still great value. (NM)
(49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec; aged for 20 months in French barrels, 35% new): Bright red-ruby. Mellow, inviting scents of currant, plum, graphite, cigar box and smoky oak. Silky on entry, then quite firm in the middle, with red berry, mocha and spice flavors firmed on the back end by dusty tannins. A touch of sweetness (3.3 g/l r.s.) is nicely hidden by ripe acidity. Not a particularly big wine considering its 14% alcohol, this stands out for its clarity and class.
This offers bay, mint and pepper notes out front, backed by lightly mulled black currant and blackberry fruit flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now through 2017. (Web Only-2016) (JM)
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