Platter's Crowns Plaisir De Merle Signature 2012 As Bordeaux Blend Of The Year

Renowned Paarl winery Plaisir de Merle has again been crowned for outstanding expertise by South Africa's leading guide to South African wine.

Singled out at the launch of the Platter's 2019 edition, the Plaisir de Merle Signature Blend 2012 received 5 stars and was named Bordeaux-style Red Blend Wine of the Year. The announcement was made at Cape Town's Table Bay Hotel where 200 guests included SA's top producers.

The performance re-affirms Plaisir de Merle's award-winning consistency across a broad range of local and international platforms, and long-standing prowess with wine. In the preceding issue of Platter's alone, the estate received 4 ½-star ratings for the Grand Plaisir 2011 and the Petit Verdot 2015, and 4-star ratings for the Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Malbec 2015, Merlot 2015, Shiraz, and Chardonnay 2016.

Debuting in 1980, Platter’s by Diners Club is South Africa’s first wine annual and remains one of the most popular insights into local wine. The guide’s star ratings are compiled in association with a team of leading wine experts and are a trusted source for wine-lovers at home and abroad.

"Awards are always rewarding," says Niel Bester, who has been Plaisir de Merle's winemaker since 1993. "We know what our vineyards are capable of so it's gratifying to have this belief confirmed as it has been here again by Platter's, and especially in a category that requires the highest standard in the cellar and across grape varieties."

"The achievements are a credit to the work of viticulturist Freddie le Roux and a large team of people who are passionate about making wine at Plaisir de Merle," he adds. The Plaisir de Merle Signature Blend 2012 is a limited-edition wine that comprises 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot, 17% Cabernet franc, 17% Malbec and 8% Merlot. The label boldly carries Niel's personal signature and thumbprint and was created to encapsulate his tenure of two decades as winemaker at Plaisir de Merle. It is a wine that represents passion, dedication and intimate knowledge attained over many years of the terroir and its unpredictability.

In the glass, the blend reflects the diversity of the farm with its different soil types, micro-climate and fynbos integrated between the vineyards. Inky dark in colour, it displays layers of spice, cassis, dark berry and black fruit and hints of espresso on the nose. On the palate, there's rich dark chocolate, blackcurrant and red berries. The tannins are firm with notes of oak well-integrated with the fruit. Full-bodied, the wine has hints of tobacco and cedar and delivers a lingering finish.

It is anticipated to age well for up to 15 years and made a proud addition to the portfolio of Plaisir de Merle.

Established by the French Huguenots in 1693 on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains between Paarl and Franschhoek, Plaisir de Merle is a rare gem. This 974ha estate has earned international acclaim for its white and red wines. About 400ha are planted with a variety of noble grape cultivars such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and Malbec, and an area of only about 80ha of prime vineyards has been set aside for the Plaisir de Merle cellar.

The diversity of the soils, slopes and elevations are closely linked with the quality of Plaisir de Merle wines. Grapes were sourced from dryland vineyards planted on well-drained weathered granite soils (predominantly Tukulu and Hutton) with good water retention. They range in age from 14 to 21 years and are situated between 250m and 350m above sea-level on the south-eastern slopes of the Simonsberg.

During vinification of the Signature Blend, fermentation was completed in 300-litre French oak barrels. The wines were racked and transferred to new barrels for a period of 16 months where after individual barrels were selected for the blend. No filtration was required prior to bottling. The result was a wine that has is prized among cognoscenti and collectors alike.

The Plaisir de Merle Signature Blend 2012 retails for R699.00 at Norman Goodfellows and is also available at the brand home and from the Vinoteque.