There was a time when Chardonnay was almost the brand name for white wine, a time when a white wine drinker, was a Chardonnay drinker. Then it changed and for a while Chardonnay was not the go-to white, in fact when selecting a white wine, there was an ABC rule – Anything But Chardonnay.
But things have changed and although not back to its glory days, Chardonnay has made a come-back and it has a ‘new’ interpretation of style to thank for it.
The revival of Chardonnay can be attributed to a fresher character. While a fan-base might still exist for over-oaked, heavy Chardonnays, these wines are still not the fashion. Well-balanced and elegant Chardonnays, however, are versatile and accessible. They can be enjoyed as an aperitif, a well-deserved glass at the end of the day and a beautiful and delightful partner on the dinner table.
In the history of wine, this ‘new’ style of Chardonnay is of course not that new. French Chardonnay typically offers a certain minerality that ensuring freshness and elegance while considered oak ads fullness and complexity, all without dominating the fruit. And it is the revival of this style, that has made one linger in front of the Chardonnay section again.
Reaffirming the Franschhoek Valley’s affinity for this variety, grapes for the 2016 La Motte Chardonnay originate from a single site on the estate. The winemaking team has a dedicated focus on ensuring the best of the specific vintage, while maintaining the elegance associated with La Motte Chardonnay. Two thirds of the 2016 vintage underwent malolactic fermentation in 300-litre French oak barrels, 25% of which were new. One third of the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks, without malolactic fermentation. All the components were blended subsequent to an 11-month maturation period and the wine was bottled on the estate in April 2017. 6000 x 6-bottle cases were released.
In the glass, the 2016 vintage offers a rich straw colour with a tinge of green, while the nose intrigues with lemon, nectarine and subtle cashew. Juicy and polished, the palate follows through on the fruit notes with a lively length and freshness. Medium-full, the 2016 vintage stays true to La Motte’s distinctive Chardonnay character – well-balanced with the promise of exceptional maturation.
Also a versatile partner on the dinner table, the 2016 Chardonnay is a classic with the luxurious choices of caviar, snails, crayfish and pâté, it elegantly partners with seafood, spice and subtle curries and never disappoints with creamy cheese or eggs in any form.
The 2016 La Motte Chardonnay is available online or at the cellar door for R120 per bottle.