MICHAEL FRIDJHON: Wine blends are well worth your money
Combos are no longer the burial ground of inferior cultivars in the world of winemaking
Until the late 1970s most Cape winemakers made blended wines because they needed to use up the tanks of their least commercially acceptable varieties. If they had cabernet sauvignon — or at least enough to meet the very liberal requirements of the relatively new wine of origin scheme — they were certainly not going to blend it away. Rustenberg was the only producer which used more cabernet sauvignon than cinsaut in a blend — and then insisted on calling the wine “Dry Red”.
In those not-so-distant days there were no commercial merlot or cabernet franc vineyards. Then along came Welgemeend and shortly after Meerlust, both with plantings of these classic blending cultivars. Suddenly a red Bordeaux-style blend was a most desirable purchase. As merlot vines became more readily available (followed by cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec) there were literally dozens of would-be challengers to the throne of Meerlust Rubicon. ..