After 400 years of winemaking, Plaisir de Merle has launched what they are calling the pinnacle of blends. The limited edition 2013 Charles Marais is a heady blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and winemaker Niel Bester says it’s the finest wine released in his 25 years as cellar master.
‘Over time, Plaisir de Merle has become synonymous with blends, but the estate has never produced anything quite as extraordinary as this. 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, have a profound impact on how we make our wine,’ Bester says.
As with any exceptional wine, the story starts in the vineyard. ‘The grapes were destined for greatness and we ensured that they enjoyed the royal treatment they deserved by handling them separately from harvesting to fermentation and maturation. And when the time came to blend, I only selected 12 out of the 100 barrels to create what I think is a magnificent wine,’ says Bester.
The Cabernet Sauvignon brings red berries, dark fruit and juicy tannins to the blend, while the Cabernet Franc adds blueberries and a herbaceous note. The Petit Verdot contributes forest berries and spice as well as some firm tannin, and the Merlot lifts the blend with aromatic violets. Lastly, French oak, from the barrel, delivers flavours of pencil shavings, sweet vanilla and spice.
Inky plum in colour, Plaisir de Merle’s Charles Marais is aromatic and features dark fruit and savoury notes on the nose. The palate is luscious and full-bodied, opening up to reveal layers of ripe red and black fruit and juicy, soft tannins.
For more information on Plaisir de Merle’s extensive range of wine and other offerings, visit their website.