Wine makers and wine writers often get excited about wine being site specific, but for those who enjoy drinking the wine, it is important that the terroir relates to taste. La Motte’s trusted pair of Syrah and Chardonnay are both made exclusively from Franschhoek grapes and you can taste it.
“La Motte’s terroir contributes a beautiful creaminess and drinkability – even at a young age”, says La Motte Cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche.
The recently released 2018 La Motte Chardonnay combines this smooth character with refreshing citrus fruit – typical for white wine varieties grown on the estate. The Chardonnay vineyard on La Motte was planted in 1997. It lies 200 metres above sea-level, against a southern and south western slope and is planted in Clovelly soils.
The wine’s citrus fruit is complemented by flavours of peach and apricot. Barrel fermentation of two thirds of the juice and considered barrel maturation with only 25% new French oak, contributed to a polished, medium-full wine with exceptional freshness and a lively length.
“I believe Franschhoek Chardonnay has that special X-factor”, says Edmund. “The recognisable lime, citrus and cashew nut on the nose, a creamy texture with minerality on the palate and a lingering follow through. And as a tribute to the French Huguenot heritage of the area, Franschhoek Chardonnay often offers that oatmeal character some of the best French examples are known for.”
The 2016 La Motte Syrah is also a true expression of its Franschhoek terroir with micro-climates from the mountain slopes and valley floors adding complexity to the wine’s elegant character. Edmund explains: “Syrah from Franschhoek contains a natural fruitiness that includes red berries and mulberry. The light soils complement the more elegant style that we enjoy making and we add a small percentage of Durif to contribute to the wine’s colour and texture.”
The 2016 La Motte Syrah has all this fruitiness and elegance as well as some black pepper spice contributed by some of the vineyard blocks well-exposed to shade. With only 30% new French oak, the wood flavours are well integrated with a creamy texture to the finish.
The Syrah vineyards on La Motte are between 10 and 30 years old and are spread over different blocks with varying soil profiles. The vineyard blocks are situated between 200 and 300 metres above sea-level. The soil is of a sandstone and granite origin and varies from a heavier texture along the slopes to a sandy, well-drained texture in the valley.
Both wines are extremely versatile when it comes to the dinner table – another characteristic they share with the Franschhoek Valley, renowned for its exceptional culinary culture. Try Chef Eric Bulpitt’s recipe for Onion and Matured Cheddar Cheese Tart – it is a lovely match for any of these two wines.