Rainbow’s End is a family-owned boutique wine estate close to Stellenbosch situated within the Jonkershoek Mountain range. The farm has been part of the Malan family heritage dating as far back as French Huguenot’s times. The name reflects on the promise of “a pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow. In this case, it is true in no uncertain terms. The fertility, location and climate of the farm situated within the Banghoek basin is exactly that – a “pot of gold”. Twenty-two hectares of planted and well natured vineyards providing us with world class red wines.
Jacques (father), Anton and Francois (sons) Malan strive to create the best bottle of wine combining traditional winemaking techniques with the latest advances within the industry. Francois, as the viticulturist, strives to develop and maintain optimal balance and production from their vines. Anton, the wine maker, adapts his techniques whenever needed to ensure the best result irrespective of the style. Anton feels that there is no desire to categorize his wines. Unique wines are produced using a unique style, bringing to the fore the best the season has to offer. This liberal and unique production process will leave it up to us, the wine lover, to form our own opinion regarding the wine. All of this takes place under the watchful eye of patriarch, Jacques.
The love affair between the Malan family, their farm and wines does not end there. Artist Marieke Kruger (nee Malan) is the rose amongst the thorns – sister to Anton and Jacques – and is responsible for the artwork on the Rainbow’s End label. The hand drawn label is of Bullerskop, part of the Groot Drakenstein Mountain overlooking Rainbow’s End. A rainbow against the mountain can also be seen, depicting the symbolism associated with the farm, the family, and their wine.
The featured wine Family Reserve Estate blend has a story of its own. One of patience and meticulous planning. Anton waited ten years for brother Francois’ handy work to pay off. Selected vineyard blocks aged to perfection, ensuring the best possible grapes to be picked for this wine. The 2012 featured in this review, the four varietals used in the production are Merlot 44%, Cabernet Sauvignon 22%, Petit Verdot 22% and Cabernet Franc 12%. Only the best barrels of each varietal were selected for blending and French Oak barrels used for aging after blending. Only 9 barrels per year produced makes this a definite choice for all wine lovers.
On the nose, tobacco and mint with earthy undertones. On the palate, cassis, dark chocolate and blackberries. Smooth tannins create a full mouth feel and lingering after taste.
Way back when, when I started these reviews, I put some emphasis on the fact that wine, and especially pairing wine, is all about “experimenting” and challenging your palate and finding what you enjoy. Even though “traditional pairings” is a safe option, it is important to get out of the box and cross those boundaries. On that note, my suggested pairing for the Family Reserve is grilled chicken breast with orange zest and origanum, garlic sautéed mushrooms, wilted spinach and new potatoes. The fruitiness found in the predominantly Merlot based blend compliments the smokiness of the chicken breast and orange zest beautifully. The earthy undertones work wonders with the mushrooms on the plate. The dark chocolate and cassis in the wine adds a distinct sweetness. All this tied in with the soft tannins found in the wine contributes to a well-rounded finish.