One of the corker sayings the Australians have given the wine world is “emotional takeout”. In other words, a winery visit that leaves you with a nice warm, satisfied feeling will result in you connecting to this relevant brand in that same irresistible manner in which a Pakistani bowler is inextricably attracted to a bookie.
La Motte, the revamped well-known Franschhoek wine estate, is not so much an emotional takeout as a sensory tattoo. It leaves an indelible mark, the kind of place you don’t know whether you’d like to share with your worst enemy or keep all to yourself.
It is a splendid venue and a true onslaught to the senses. What’s there not to like?
From the moment you have entered the grounds with their immaculately restored Cape Dutch buildings set on manicured lawns, to your last cup of organically grown estate coffee at the Pierneef Restaurant, La Motte offers a lavish, classy and hospitable winelands experience which is characterised by total originality.
The first port of call has to be the collection of Pierneef art which Hein Koegelenberg and wife Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg procured from the artist’s daughter. The Pierneef label has been used on La Motte’s wines for some years now, but seeing the artist’s work so viscerally and confidently displayed on the farm is further going to entrench Pierneef as an indelible part of the La Motte brand.
The restaurant beckons and you can’t resist ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ a gleaming kitchen at the entrance leading into an expanse of comfortable seating and tables ranging from smallish four-seaters to the large family round table, a homage to the late Anton Rupert’s permanent dining place in the Stellenbosch restaurant Decameron.
The menu is jazzed-up boerecuisine and unashamedly South African. On opening night the gents were served lamb, well-cooked as Boerekos-lamb should be, while the ladies feasted on duck.
I asked Hanneli about the wine-list, which appeared awesomely reasonable with hardly the murmur of a mark-up. “We don’t want people to feel ripped-off,” was the direct answer, which hit the spot
During the week-long opening celebrations, Hein also launched La Motte’s new wine, a red blend and tribute to his wife, simply called Hanneli R. This wine, from the 2005 vintage, is an intriguing blend of Cabernet, Shiraz, Cinsaut and Grenache.
Intriguing? Well, yes. Off late I have had pleasant delights with Shiraz, Cinsaut and Grenache blends. Most of the local examples, however, do not tend to show the same muscular definition at five years of age than they did at two or three. They either tend to go weedy and bubble-gummish when the Grenache and Cinsaut quotient is upped or simply, turn into another Shiraz.
The Hanneli R will have none of this. It may already be over five years old and delicious, but the wine still has a long way to go. The Shiraz (55%), Grenache (28%) and Cinsaut (8%) are still lively and gyrating in the bottle, tooing-and-frooing as they jostle to find the right position before they settle down. Myriad flavours of liquorice, all-spice, cloves and dried hummingbird liver make it a heady, sensual drink and you don’t need a crystal ball to see that it is going to age into something quite gorgeous.
The reason, moi thinko, is the blob of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. It is harnessing the more sluttish Rh?+¦???+¦?+¦????ne varieties with a chunk of palate weight and a length long enough to make an American basketball player feel under-endowed.
Hanneli R is a huge wine in every sense. Still showing a smidgen of toast, it is going to age wonderfully and is certainly a keeper.
It will be a fitting wine to drink on the La Motte premise where style and class have been harnessed with one of the Cape Winelands most precious asset, namely a sense of welcome and honest hospitality.
Now that’s a take-out.
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