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Forbes Profiles Anthonij Rupert’s Johann Rupert

For the April 19 issue of Forbes, associate editor Abram Brown takes a look at Johann Rupert, owner of Anthonij Rupert Wines, a vastly successful executive, and a man who “rarely gives interviews but is undeniably garrulous when the conversation is about wine.” The full piece is available on the Forbes site, but here’s a taste of some of that wine talk:

His estate’s greatest success fittingly carries his brother’s name: the Anthonij Rupert 2007, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. (It’s also priced like a Bordeaux, at $100-plus.) The vintage scored a 95-point rating from the industry bible, Wine Spectator, in 2012–only the fifth South African wine to do so–and is, naturally, hard to find these days. Another fine blend is the Anthonij Rupert Optima (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot).

A surprise hit was a 2005 Petit Verdot originally produced as part of a blend (in keeping with Bordeaux custom). In its early stages it was powerfully tannic, but once left to age it improved immensely. Rupert’s staff decided to bottle and sell it as a stand-alone wine but didn’t consult with their boss. He wasn’t disappointed. “People went crazy for it,” he says. “True wine lovers discovered it.” A French acquaintance tried a bottle and took a case to France to share among friends in the industry. “They said, ‘It’s not possible!’ They couldn’t believe it. Guess what? We’re starting to make it again this year, and we’re going to plant some more.”

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