Distell might be undergoing a process of rationalisation (Le Bonheur sold last year and apparently Stellenzicht and Uitkyk also on the market) but the producer-wholesaler seems fully committed to Paarl property Plaisir de Merle, the maiden 2013 vintage of a deluxe red blend called Charles Marais launched yesterday.
Consisting of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot, the wine was matured for 16 months in 300-litre barrels, 100% new. Total production was 750 six-bottle cases and the wine will sell for R1 050 a bottle, the extra R50 on the price tag to convey that this is emphatically a four-figure price kind of wine.
The nose takes a little while to open up but is pretty classic when it does – red and black fruit, vanilla and pencil shavings plus a subtle herbal note in evidence. The palate is rich and full but balanced – particular fruit concentration, fresh acidity and firm but fine tannins. It has to be said that its damn smart.
Editor’s rating: 93/100.
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