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Exclusive wine report ranks Plaisir de Merle among SA’s top 3

Plaisier de MerleThe excellence of Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon has been re-affirmed with the 2012 vintage singled out as one of the top three selected in this year’s exclusive report on South African Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine received a rating of 93 out of 100 – third-highest in a flight of only 60 wines selected by the judging panel and announced this week.

In addition, only 12 wines rated 90 points or higher. According to Christian Eedes, chairman of the Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2016 panel, wines were assembled based partly on their achievements in recent local and international competitions and on their reputation.

“The achievement is significant to Plaisir de Merle because our own reputation has been built on Cabernet Sauvignon,” says winemaker Niel Bester. “The Cabernet Sauvignon Report can be seen as a very competitive competition given the 100 point scale that ensures a more thorough and critical evaluation. This makes achieving 90 points or higher that much more meaningful.”

Bester said the wines in the tasting all have very high reputations. “It’s very satisfying to see the Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon take its rightful place among the country’s best.”

The accolade follows on the heels of the gold medal awarded to the Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, regarded as the United Nations of fine wines.

Plaisir de Merle lies at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain’s east-facing slopes and its vineyards are at the epicentre of South Africa’s most awarded winemaking regions.

Its history dates back to 1693, when Cape Governor Simon van der Stel granted land to the Marais family, which named after their home town, Le Plessis Marly.

Today, it is known for an exceptional portfolio of wines. “The long-standing reputation of our wines makes it important for us to continuously evaluate and improve farm and vineyard practices, and cellar and maturation processes,” says Bester.

In terms of the Cabernet Sauvignon, two particular vineyards are used. “Their fruit improves every year as they age and forms the basis of the wine. At the same time we make sure that other grapes used in the blend are complimentary and contribute to the quality without chasing volumes.

“With the 2012 we used Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Achieving the high score at the Cabernet Sauvignon Report with this vintage was particularly satisfactory because it clearly shows our improvement with every harvest.”

Niel Bester joined Plaisir de Merle in 1993 with viticulturists Hannes van Rensburg and Freddie le Roux, who share credit for its achievements.

The illustrious farm produces a range of red and white, single varietal wines and blends, as well as the Plaisir De Merle Grand Brut – an elegant and distinctive Méthode Cap Classique made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The vineyards are located between 180m and 500m above sea level where high mountain peaks shade the vineyards from the hot, late afternoon sun. This slows down ripening, resulting in wines with a very typically rich fruit complexity and well-ripened tannins.

As a environmentally responsible and ethical producer Plaisir de Merle is certified by a number of organisations including the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trading Association (WIETA); BRC Global Standards, a leading safety and quality certification programme; the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI); and, SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

The Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 is available at the cellar door at R180.00.

The wines of Plaisir de Merle are also available through the Vinotèque – an online shop and wine bank that specialises in the cellaring of wine under optimal conditions and door-to-door delivery.

Plaisir de Merle is located in Simondium on the R45 between Paarl and Franschhoek.

Plaisir de Merle is part of Distell Luxury Wines, a collection of superlative quality, award-winning wines from several boutique estates situated in and around the Cape Winelands. For more information about Plaisir de Merle and its wines, visit, call 021 874 1072 or make contact on, (or via Twitter @PlaisirdeMerle).

The wines, available at retail outlets nationwide, are found on many restaurant wine lists and can also be delivered to your door when purchased online through the Vinotèque at this link:

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