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.
In a warm climate such as South Africa, the best location for Merlot vineyards are on cool south and southeast slopes and at Plaisir de Merle the Simonsberg Mountain offers the ideal location. The grapes were sourced from two vineyards situated between 140m and 370m above sea-level on the south-eastern slopes of the mountain. The grapes were picked by hand and the juice was left on the skins for 10 days, matured in 33% new, 38% second-fill and 29% third-fill French oak barrels for periods ranging from 12 to 16 months. The final blend was made after each barrel was tasted and evaluated individually.
With a soft tannin structure and a superior velvety smooth finish, the Plaisir de Merle Merlot 2015 is fragrant on the nose with red berries, floral notes, hints of spice and mint chocolate. Cherries, hints of cloves and mocha blend seamlessly to offer a versatile wine that would pair well with venison, pot roasts and lightly spiced meat dishes. Enjoy now or cellar for a further five to ten years to experience the full potential of this extraordinary wine.