Established by the French Huguenots in 1693 on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains situated between Paarl and Franschhoek, Plaisir de Merle is a rare gem. A Distell showpiece, this 974 hectare estate in Simondium, Paarl, has earned international acclaim for its white and red wines. About 400 hectares are planted with a variety of noble grape cultivars such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and Malbec. An area of only about 80 hectares of prime vineyards has been set aside for the Plaisir de Merle cellar. Winemaker Niel Bester attributes the success of his wines to being able to work with great fruit coming from a very unique terrain and the invaluable input from his viticulture team.
The diversity of the soils, slopes and elevations all add to the quality of Plaisir de Merle’s grapes. Well-drained weathered granite soils (predominantly Tukulu and Hutton) with good water retention allow minimal interference in irrigation with most vineyards being dry land. The grapes were selected and handpicked from three vineyards. Starting on February 17 and ending on March 5. They are situated between 300m and 370m above sea level on the south-eastern slopes of the Simonsberg. Upon completion of fermentation the wine was left on the skins for about a week to macerate. The wine was racked off and malolactic fermentation was completed in the tanks and barrels. The wine was matured in 40% new, 35% second-fill and 25% third-fill French oak barrels for periods
ranging from 12 to 16 months. Finally all the individual barrels were tasted and evaluated to select the final blend.
Dark ruby red colour. Floral notes, strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrant, chocolate and sweet vanilla.
Medium to full-bodied with a soft and velvety palate laced with ripe fruit and supported by cedar and vanilla oak flavours. Accessible now, but this wine has good maturation potential until 2023.
Made to complement most food dishes, this Merlot pairs well with venison, pot roasts and other lightly spiced meat dishes.