In the December 31st issue of Wine Spectator, James Molesworth gives his thoughts on two wines from Ernie Els:
2015 Ernie Els Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch:
Fleshy and inviting, showing layers of cassis, raspberry and blackberry paste inlaid with anise, singed apple wood and mint notes. Nice charcoal frame on the finish. Best from 2018 through 2023. 3,550 cases made. 92 Points.
2016 Ernie Els Big Easy Red, Western Cape:
Direct, with a friendly blast of cherry compote and red licorice notes backed by a lightly toasted anise accent. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Grenache, Viognier and Mourvèdre. Drink now. 17,000 cases made. 87 Points.
Lauren Buzzeo of the Wine Spectator gave rave reviews to two Ernie Els Reds from Stellenbosch in the December, 2017 issue:
Ernie Els 2013 Signature Red (Stellenbosch)
93 POINTS – Cellar Selection
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, this is a bold, concentrated and flavorful wine that will mature well over the next 10 years. Aromas of espresso, crème de cassis, spiced blackberry, boysenberry preserves, tobacco and woodspice abound and carry through to the robust, gripping palate. It’s firmly structured, but harmonious in its overall strength, with final notes of campfire, char and cocoa on the long finish.
Ernie Els 2014 Proprietor’s Red (Stellenbosch)
This blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Shiraz, 5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot opens with aromas of church incense, brambly berry, cherry cola and fruit cake. The palate shows a bit more restraint, offering flavors of small red berries and cherries that are dusted with baking spices. Structured tannins lend ample grip to the medium-weight palate, while moderate acidity lifts the red fruit flavors through the close. Drink now–2021.
The December 15th edition of the Wine Spectator included three stellar reviews of Anthonij Rupert Wines by James Molesworth:
2012 Anthonij Rupert Cabernet Sauvignon, Franschhoek:
Ripe, sleek and focused, with a beam of red currant and bitter plum preserve flavors racing through, lined with singed cedar and vanilla bean. Extra bay leaf, tobacco and menthol hints emerge through the finish, which has latent grip and solid drive despite the late release. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Drink now through 2021. 230 cases made. 91 Points.
2013 Anthonij Rupert Optima, Western Cape:
Solid, with dark currant and licorice root notes wrapped around each other, backed by tobacco and singed cedar elements. Tar and mint details echo through the pleasantly rustic finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2018. 5,850 cases made. 89 Points.
2016 Anthonij Rupert Chenin Blanc, Western Cape Protea:
Bright Key lime, white peach and kiwifruit stream through, unencumbered by toast and backed by a fresh, floral-edged finish. Drink now through 2018. 5,100 cases made. 88 Points.
James Molesworth of the Wine Spectator continued his December review of South African wines with two reviews of Rust en Vrede:
2015 Rust en Vrede Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch:
Sleek and focused with a delicious beam of red currant and bitter cherry preserves lined with mouthwatering savory and tobacco hints. An iron spine holds the finish and adds length. Drink now through 2021. 3,750 cases made. 91 Points.
2015 Rust en Vrede Merlot, Stellenbosch:
Solid, with focused, moderately juicy raspberry, red currant and cherry preserve flavors lined with black licorice and subtle toast details. Restrained through the finish, but with solid length. Drink now through 2018. 4,100 cases made. 89 Points.
In a May, 2017 article (A Splendid 2015 Vintage in South Africa: Time to Explore Swartland’s Wines), Stephen Tanzer reviews several wines from Ernie Els:
2016 Ernie Els Big Easy Chenin Blanc
Pale, bright, green-tinged yellow. Restrained but lively aromas of lime blossom, mint and herbs. Juicy, savory and dry, with the minty quality carrying through the palate. Just a bit shallow but a fresh, easygoing Chenin Blanc with a salty thirst-quenching quality and immediate appeal. Still a good bit of CO2 to be absorbed. 87 Points.
2015 Ernie Els Big Easy Red Blend
Deep, dark red. Aromas of cassis, spices and licorice are accented by herbs and black pepper. Savory, concentrated wine with terrific peppery dark fruit intensity (black raspberry) and the extra depth of the year. Slightly inky but rich wine with firm but ripe tannins and lovely length. This rather serious wine is big but not so easy. 89 Points.
2014 Ernie Els Big Easy Cabernet Sauvignon
(14.5% alcohol): Bright, full medium ruby. Pungent aromas of cassis, blackberry, licorice, herbs and black pepper. Very concentrated but uncompromising, offering brooding flavors of brambly dark berries, herbs and licorice, plus a leafy nuance. No hard edges here but this is notl ready to drink. Finishes with serious tongue-dusting tannins that will need time to unwind. 89+ Points.
2016 Ernie Els Big Easy Proprietor’s Cabernet Sauvignon
(14.5% alcohol): Saturated bright ruby. Brooding aromas of cassis, blackberry and licorice. Tactile, powerful, robust wine in a distinctly rough, backward style. This will take a long time to mellow in bottle. Tarry oak and unrefined tannins make this tough going today, even a bit dry-edged. Yes, it’s powerful, but to what end? I find it hard to work up much enthusiasm for this wine today. 89+ Points.
In the May 31st, 2017 edition of the Wine Spectator, James Molesworth reviews two wines from Ernie Els:
2016 Ernie Els Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch Big Easy
Bright, with green almond, lime and melon rind notes, backed by a juicy, unadorned finish. Drink now. 87 Points.
2015 Ernie Els Big Easy Red Western Cape
Solidly built, with singed cedar and vanilla notes providing the frame for a core of lightly steeped red currant and plum fruit. Subtle anise and tobacco details line the finish. More like Cabernet than Syrah, but tasty nonetheless. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Viognier and Cinsault. Drink now through 2019. 89 Points.
In the May, 2017 issue of Wine & Spirits, Joshua Greene selects Ernie Els’ Big Easy White as a Best Buy!
2016 Ernie Els Big Easy White
Pale scents of lemon curd combine with brisk salinity to lengthen this wine’s flavors and set up a craving for food. It’s a little creamy and blunt in its leesiness –as one panelist suggested, it tastes like it’s fresh from the tank- needing six months in bottle to mellow and meld. 89 Points. Best Buy.