Plaisir de Merle Malbec is one of the best of a whole new raft of South African Malbecs that have hit the market in recent years.
The origins of Plaisir de Merle date back to 1687 when French Huguenot Charles Marais was granted land by Governor Simon van der Stel. He named the farm Le Plessis Marly after the small village from which he had come in France. Today Plaisir de Merle is one of the Cape’s largest farms and is renowned for its exclusive range of top quality wines. It has an historic manor house and state-of-the-art cellar, which has been in use since 1993. A Distell showpiece, this 974 hectare estate in Simondium, Paarl, has earned international acclaim for its white and red wines. Winemaker Niel Bester attributes the benefits of working with great fruit coming from a very unique terrain and the invaluable input from his viticulture team.
Grapes for the Plaisir de Merle Malbec are harvested from a single 13 year old vineyard situated at around 270m above sea level. The grapes are destalked and crushed into a small stainless steel fermenter. The juice is then pumped over the skins at regular intervals to extract colour, flavour and tannins. Malolactic fermentation then takes place in 300-litre new and second-fill French oak barrels. After racking, the wine is returned to the barrels for a total period of sixteen months.