Winemaker: Niel Bester
Background: Plaisir de Merle, located at the foothills of the Simonsberg-Paarl mountains, has established a name for itself especially with their range of premium quality red wines. Cellar master, Niel Bester, has been responsible of producing the wines for Plaisir de Merle since 1993 and each of the vintages from then has given the wine lover consistent quality, all credit to Niel and his team. However not one for letting things sit still Niel felt it time for Plaisir de Merle to produce an ultimate flagship wine which was released this week under the name Charles Marais. The wine is named after founder Charles Marais who fled his home in France, setting sail with his family in 1687. They settled in the Groot Drakenstein Valley and in 1693 the Cape Governor, Simon van der Stel, granted him land, which he named after his home town, Le Plessis Marly (today known as Plaisir de Merle). Charles Marais was one of only a handful of Frenchmen who had experience in winemaking when he arrived at the Cape and his vinous legacy lives on in Plaisir de Merle’s winemaking tradition. This limited edition 2013 Charles Marais is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and Niel believes it’s the finest wine released in his 25 years as cellar master. “Blends have become synonymous with Plaisir de Merle over time, but nothing quite as extraordinary as this wine has ever been produced from the estate. It’s quite fitting then that it’s named after the founder of Plaisir de Merle, Charles Marais. It would have been a fine moment for me to share a glass of this wine with the man who had the vision to set in place vineyards that to this day has a profound impact on how we make our wine.” The grapes were hand harvested and after hand sorting the four varietals were fermented separately in stainless steel tanks. Once fermentation was complete the skins remained with the wines for two weeks before being transferred to 3rd fill 300 litre barrels where each wine underwent malolactic fermentation. The wines were later transferred to 1st fill 300 litre barrels for 16 months. Only the barrels showing the purest varietal character were selected for the final blend which spent a further 6 months in 3rd fill barrels prior to been bottled. The wine was kept in bottle for two years before release.
Result: :The wine displays a velvety plum colour with aromas of dark berry fruit and hints of cedar. The palate starts off with a subtle sweetness from the fruit, developing into a complex mid-palate of generous savoury blackcurrant fruit with mouth coating tannins which in time will settle. .
When to drink: Now till 2023
Drink with what: We enjoyed it with braised lamb shoulder, gem squash, gremolata, confit garlic with an olive oil pomme puree prepared by Chef Bertus Basson of Overture.
Expect to pay: R1135.000