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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES No.126 (article first published : 2005-03-14)

La Motte is one of the oldest wine farms in the Franschhoek Valley, dating back to 1695, and the estate was given its unusual name in 1709. The second owner of the property, Pierre (later called Pieter) Joubert, named it after La Motte d’Aigues, the village of his birth in Provence, France. Joubert prospered and lived on the farm for 21 years until his death in 1730.

The modern era of La Motte began when it was bought in 1970 by the industrialist Dr Anton Rupert. His son Anthonij, later killed in a motor accident, planted classic grape varieties in the vineyards, and today the property is owned by Dr Rupert’s daughter, Hanneli Koegelenberg, better known perhaps as the outstanding mezzo-soprano Hanneli Rupert.

It is a proud tradition, and La Motte continues it today by producing wines of the highest quality under the guiding hand of winemaker Edmund Terblanche.

Two recent releases from the estate are ample evidence of this. La Motte Shiraz, rich, spicy and elegant, has been a star turn for many years, and the 2002 vintage of this red wine is first-rate. Edmund Terblanche says: “The wine has aniseed, blackcurrant and violet on the nose. The palate shows additional black olive and bay leaf flavours. More savoury than fruit, this deep ruby-coloured wine has a medium to full-bodied palate, with a mouth-filling peppery finish”.

At 14,5 percent alcohol it is a big, powerful wine and is recommended to go with roast meats such as beef, lamb and venison. But you can enjoy it just by itself, and I like red wine with poultry. It is not cheap, a wine for the special occasion, but at a retail price of about R78 a bottle it is fair value.

Also new is the 2004 vintage of La Motte Sauvignon Blanc. This is a lovely crisp white wine with some tropical fruit character to offset the typical green pepper, grassy aromas and tastes of sauvignon blanc. The balance of flavours is excellent and the wine is less assertive and aggressive than some sauvignons and therefore, I suspect, more attractive for most consumers.

It would go well with salads, seafood , pasta or Chinese or Thai dishes, or simply as an aperitif. It seems to me that more and more people these days have white wine before a meal instead of whisky or brandy or gin or beer, and this La Motte Sauvignon Blanc would fit the bill admirably. Retail price is about R41 a bottle.

If you are in the Cape, La Motte is well worth a visit. Tasting and sales Monday to Friday 09h00 to 16h30, Saturday 10h00 to 15h00, lunches in the summer. Phone 021 876 3119. – Michael Green




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