Un­cork this and knock on heaven’s door

The Times (South Africa) - - Hunter - PLAISIR DE MERLE CABER­NET SAUVI­GNON 2013

Ernst le Roux, one of the giants of SA wine, died last month and his pass­ing is worth not­ing. For Ernst in­vented El­gin as a cool-cli­mate grape-pro­duc­ing ap­pel­la­tion. As grape buyer for cor­po­rate gi­ant Dis­tell, he re­drew the viti­cul­tural map of the Cape.

Af­ter re­tire­ment, one of his favourite haunts was Plaisir de Merle where he’d keep every­one abreast of de­vel­op­ments in the busy lives of his grand­chil­dren. This his­toric spread on the moun­tain at the entrance to Fran­schhoek is some­thing of an or­phan child for owner Dis­tell. Ear­lier this year it was se­cretly up for sale as the com­pany floun­dered to turn its wine as­sets to ac­count. But that plan has now changed and the word is it will re­tain the prop­erty. For now.

Man­aged by ex-SA Brew­eries new brooms, the com­pany is busy rein­vent­ing it­self, with many his­toric prop­er­ties like Le Bon­heur and Neeth­ling­shof sold off and the fo­cus changed to big-vol­ume sweet wines such as 4th Street — pos­si­bly named af­ter the Bob Dy­lan clas­sic Pos­i­tively 4th Street with the mem­o­rable put­down “you just want to be on the side that’s win­ning”.

This Caber­net is more of an Av­enue wine, the di­a­met­ric op­po­site of 4th Street. Se­ri­ous tan­nic struc­ture. El­e­gant, classy bot­tle. Small vol­umes.

On the palate: cas­sis, black plums with some toasty vanilla. It is the kind of wine to lay down for any off­spring or god­chil­dren born in 2013. Try it with seared tuna or rare prime rib.

This price for a ter­roir wine from the Cape’s most PR-aware ap­pel­la­tion is a def­i­nite mis-mark.


Knock­ing on Heaven’s Door All Along the Watch­tower Hur­ri­cane

Mr Tam­bourine Man Wig­gle Wig­gle R190; www.vinoteque.co.za

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