Plaisir de Merle & Niel Bester go together like horse & carriage…

Niel Bester, Plaisir de Merle’s Founding Winemaker

The Simonsberg is one of the most iconic of the mountains in the Cape Winelands. Somehow, one always sees it from its western facing side.  Hidden ‘round the back’ the east facing side of the Simonsberg is the first to greet the morning sun and there are some serious contenders in winemaking situated there.  One these is Plaisir de Merle. Known as a premium winery since its first vintage 25 years ago, its appeal lies in a unique combination of sublime terroir, meticulous viticulture with the gentlest winemaking, along with a sustainable purpose, and acknowledging a proud heritage reaching back to the very beginning of wine at the Cape.

Founding Winemaker Niel Bester recently sent me a bottle each of his recently released Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay 2017 and the Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. That Cabernet is a laster and will improve, year on year if properly cellared, for a good ten years after the vintage date.

Having tasted both these wines with and without food, my assessment is that they are both serious food wines. Though in its favour, the Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay 2017 is a sipping wine to be drunk at sundown while going over the day’s activities.

Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay 2017

From a Burgundy shaped bottle under screw cap. Elegant understated Plaisir de Merle livery in dark green. In the glass, a pale golden hay colour with flashes of lime green when help up to the light. Generous whiffs of windfall oranges, and oven roasted macadamia nuts. The palate is full and swirling with stone fruit and white melon, a smooth thread of acidity running through and a satisfying sweet creaminess on the aftertaste. Always interests me how a wine can be creamy.

Pork Belly with super crackly crackling

Made for food, excellent with anything from a delicate risotto to a Vitello Tonnato or a Roast belly of pork with crispy crackling.

The Manor House, Plaisir de Merle

Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

From a Bordeaux shaped bottle under natural cork. In the glass, it is a dark, almost inky ruby at the core, which pales out to ruby garnet at the edges. The nose is classic Cabernet with blackcurrants, dark berries and blueberries with oak and its concomitant vanilla and spices.  The palate is generous, especially in the mid palate, plush with the fruit indicated on the nose and an undertow of fine dark chocolate. The tannins are firm and ripe and meld with the ‘sweet’ berries in a long, lingering and satisfying aftertaste.

Ina Paarman’s Whole Fillet over Coals

No doubt here, a red meat wine. Roasted, braaied, grilled, pan fried, casserole, beef, lamb or venison is your perfect partner.

For more information about Plaisir de Merle – CLICK HERE

Information from Manley Communications.


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