La Motte Wine Estate


La Motte is situated just outside the town of Franschhoek.  It was a beautiful winter’s day in the Cape, one of those rare sunshine filled but still a chill in the air days.  Perfect for a little wine tasting.  Unfortunately because it was a public holiday the renowned Pierneef a La Motte restaurant was closed along with the Farm shop and museum, but that just gives us a good reason to go back again.

So, through the garden and over the pond towards the wine tasting!  While I do prefer to be outdoors when the weather is fine, this tasting room is just lovely and I headed straight for the couches next to the fireplace.  A very stylish yet simple tasting room with glass windows looking into the cellar, the environment is relaxing and inviting.

You can choose to do the full tasting of 8 wines for R40 or simply taste a few of your choice.  Of course we opted for the full experience, which was fantastic.  A bread roll and glass of water for palette cleansers accompany the wine glasses on your personal tray.  The wine tasting is done very well allowing you to compare different wines next to each other to fully appreciate the effect that the different techniques have on the wines.

The La Motte winemaker is actually on the Shiraz board of South Africa, so there are a few Shiraz based blends.  All which were very impressive.

A great tasting experience and fantastic wines!  We will definitely be back here with friends and visitors and hopefully for lunch on the deck or dinner by the fireplace.

The only unfortunate thing about wine tasting in the winter is that the vines are all leaf-less, dry and brown, so you don’t see the beautiful green blankets that cover the valleys and entrances to the wine farms.  Summer time is even more beautiful. 

A few wine notes below…

As per our TRH, this wine is made up of eight different Sav Blanc grapes grown in eight different places.  This means the wine has influences from a range off different terriors, resulting in a smoother wine with softer smells on the nose.  It is not as piercing as a crisp, zesty Sav Blanc can sometimes be, but rather more fruity and softer on the palate.  Very enjoyable.  We much preferred this one to the Pierneef one below which was served alongside to taste and compare. 

According to our TRH, this is usually the preferred of the two Sav Bs when tasted in a food and wine pairing setting, suggesting perhaps that this wine might be better with food.  This Sav B is organically grown which means it has no pesticides and less sulphur (less of all the elements which usually improve the wine – no?! with perhaps less of a headache).  Nevertheless, you can certainly taste the difference between the two Sav Bs when tasted alongside each other.  This wine is quite acidic, not so refined and makes your tongue cluck just a little bit more.  Not a favourite, but we’ll try it again with a food pairing and see if it is any smoother.

This Chard was a little lighter in colour than most because only about one third has been in Oak.  It’s got quite serious legs and yet the nose is surprisingly not so pungent, but rather a softer, pleasant oak smell.  It is very smooth and not too syrup or caramely, but rather vanilla and cashew nut flavours. 

This red is a Bordeaux blend.  It has quite a sharp taste and could probably do with some time in the bottle.  It is 60% Merlot and therefore has all the berry influence, just a little less of that rich fruit flavour.  It does dry your mouth out a little and tickle the nose hairs, but it is a good 2nd tier blend which good use a little time to smooth out.  Good and reasonable, not amazing.

Delicious!  Quite purple and ruby in colour with a spicy nose, our TRH suggested that this wine can in fact keep for another 10-15 years but probably enjoyed best in the next 5-8 years.  2010 is well known as one of the best years for South African red wines.  Like the description notes mention, this wine as an intense varietal nose.  It is heavy bodied with a dry finish that will smooth even more as it ages.  
This Shiraz is quite berry flavoured for a Shiraz with a slight white pepperness to it, not a lot of the tobacco/cigar smokiness you would expect.  It is quite heavy, but smooth and has almost a dark feeling to it.  It is less spicy than usual, but having said that, when compared to the Cab Sav above, the Cab smells like caramel and berries.  The Shiraz is a bit more spicy and delicious.

NOTE: Pierneef was a South African artist and there are about 136 of his artworks on the La Motte property.  Each year the artwork on the label of the Pierneef bottles changes to a different Pierneef artwork thereby making them almost a collector’s item.

This is a very easy drinking wine, it tastes like juice!  You can definitely taste the floral impact of the Viognier and how it softens some of the Shiraz spices.  We certainly agree with the 5 star John Platter rating, you can drink this wine everyday.  It’s like the La Motte Shiraz above but you don’t have to wait for it to smooth out.  A little harsh when compared to the Grenache blend below, but excellent in its own right!

This wine tastes more like a blend and is definitely the smoothest of them all.  The blend was inspired by the Southern Rhone area in France and is absolutely delicious.  I am a big fan of Shiraz and this blend is quite superb.  If you choose to you can let it rest for longer.  But this is a fantastic wine and can be enjoyed now or kept for longer.

My other half has recently jumped on the Chardonnay wagon, declaring that it only applies to exceptional Chards made in the traditional wooded way and enjoyed in a large glass.  None of these new age, half wooded, easy drinking ones… they won’t cut it.  

So we left La Motte with a bottle of the 2010 La Motte Chardonnay and a bottle of the 2008 La Motte Pierneef Shiraz Grenache.  Even though we thoroughly enjoyed the Cab, we would rather purchase a Shiraz from a farm where their speciality lies in the varietal and save a Cab purchase for a so inspired winemaker.

An absolutely lovely tasting experience and fantastic wines, especially the uniqueness of the Shiraz based wines and focus on the varietal at the farm.  We will definitely be back again!

La Motte Wine Farm
R45 Main Road, Franschhoek Valley
T +27 (0)21 876 8000
33º 53′ 0.91″ S 19º 4′ 21.57″ E


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