Epicurean is made by arrangement at the Rupert & Rothschild winery outside Franschhoek, where winemaker Schalk Joubert takes care of the nitty-gritty. While the maiden 2003 and 2004 vintages included only Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the 2005 sees the use of 27% Cabernet Franc along with 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot. This is a deft touch, for while many local reds from 2005 seem big and clumsy, the use of the perfumed, lighter-bodied Cabernet Franc lends the wine poise. "Elegance over power," insists Shilowa, a mantra that is all the more remarkable given that he is the man ultimately behind the R20-billion Gautrain project.

Considering the progress made to date, Shilowa describes 2003 as "subtle and elegant" while 2004 is "bigger, punchier, more showy". Reading between the lines, you suspect Shilowa and company initially thought the 2003 too slight and hence attempted a wine of greater structure and weight in 2004. If anything, the 2005 sits stylistically somewhere in between the two previous vintages, the result of growing confidence and acumen between those involved in compiling the blend.

Christian Eedes
Editor, WINE magazine

23 MAY 2008


Tasting Notes:
Click on the respective link below to read the tasting notes for each vintage

2006 2007


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