Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay is made by winemaker Neil Bester at this historic wine estate (founded by French Huguenots in 1693) located in Simondium, Paarl.
Plaisir de Merle is a real showpiece wine estate for Distell and consists of 1000 hectares with some 400 hectares planted with noble grape varieties. The estate has won international acclaim for both its red and white wines which winemaker Niel Bester attributes the benefits of not only working with great fruit coming from a very unique terrain, but the invaluable input from his viticulture team.
The grapes for the Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay are sourced from four different vineyards at the estate with an average age of between 12 and 23 years old. The vineyards are located at heights between 250 and 450m above sea level on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains. Grapes are hand-harvested and each vineyard is vinified separately. 70% of the wine was fermented in 300 litre French oak barrels, the remainder in stainless steel. The wine was then aged on its lees for a further 8 months in a combination of 55% first-fill, 38% second-fill and 7% third-fill barrels. The barrels are also rolled over or the lees is stirred to add extra complexity, creaminess and mouthfeel to the wine. Around 70% of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation (MLF). Finally the individual barrels are blended prior to bottling.