It is no secret that France is considered as the home of great wines and has served as the inspiration for many grape growers and winemakers around the world, including here in our very own French corner. Most wine grape varieties also originate from France and as we traditionally celebrate our French heritage in July, we thought to share the French origin of varieties used in the La Motte wine portfolio.
Sauvignon Blanc is the most popular white wine in South Africa and the biggest seller for La Motte.
The name in French literally means “wild white” due to the fact that it grew in abundance in its native South-West France. French Sauvignon Blanc are from the winegrowing areas of Bordeaux and Sancerre, in the eastern part of the Loire valley. The steely, mineral soils of Graves in Bordeaux create some of the most intense Sauvignon Blancs, more similar in style to the Pierneef Collection Sauvignon Blanc.
The more tropical style favoured by most South Africans is more easily made in our warmer grape growing areas.
Click here to order the 2021 La Motte Sauvignon Blanc online.
Although the origin of its name is uncertain, Chardonnay is believed to have been named after the village of Chardonnay in the Mâconnais region of France. What is without doubt, however, is that the variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of North-Eastern France. Today, it is arguably the most diverse and most planted white wine grape in the world.
Chardonnay styles differ dramatically from the lean, steely wines of Chablis to the Chardonnays of the Côte d'Or which are fabulously complex and expressive.
Burgundian winemakers were the pioneers of the techniques that are now associated with premium Chardonnay production around the world. These techniques include barrel fermentation, barrel aging (typically 6 to 9 months) malolactic fermentation for white wines and the use of lees during maturation.
Chardonnay also from a critical part of Champagne-style wines as well as the La Motte Méthode Cap Classique.
The wines that made Syrah famous were those from Hermitage, the hill above the town Tain-l'Hermitage in the northern Rhône, South-East France, where it is the only permitted red grape to be grown. Syrah is also widely used as a blending component in the Southerly parts of the Rhône in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape area.
Syrah is well known for its supple tannin structure and spicy aromas of pepper and sweet spices, like clove nutmeg & cinnamon.
At La Motte we make three versions of this wine in different styles, from the classic 2017 La Motte Franschhoek Syrah, to the more aromatic, complex 2017 Pierneef Syrah Viognier and the elegant, limited release 2015 Hanneli R.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc and was most likely a chance crossing of the two grapes that occurred during the 17th century in France.
Although the origin had long been suspected due to the similarity of the grapes’ names and the fact that Cabernet Sauvignon shares similar aromas with both grapes (such as the blackcurrant and pencil box aromas of Cabernet Franc and the grassiness of Sauvignon Blanc), the family connection was confirmed through DNA mapping.
Cabernet Sauvignon is also known as King Cabernet as it makes some of the most sought-after, complex and long-lived wines in the world.
The spiritual home of Cabernet is South-West France, more specifically Bordeaux, where the grapes are grown on both the left and right banks of the Gironde river, producing very different styles of wine. Cabernet is most often blended with one or more of its historical blending partners, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and to a lesser degree Petit Verdot.
At La Motte, we produce a Cabernet Sauvignon made in the more traditional left bank style of the Medoc and we also produce Millennium, that is based on the traditional Bordeaux-style blends that have to include at least three of the five varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The La Motte Millennium is Merlot led and includes Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
All of us working in the wine industry – regardless of where in the world - owe a great debt of gratitude to the French for popularizing wine as a lifestyle choice globally.