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What makes a wine estate worth a visit? It’s surely not just the experience of drinking their wine; else we’d simply buy a bottle from the nearest wine boutique. Similarly, what makes it memorable? Is it the nuances of the wines loving crafted by the cellar hands, or perhaps the multi-layered memories of experience that surround it. Perhaps it’s both, and they rarely exist without the other.
The wine estates of the South Africa’s Western Cape region have, perhaps an unfair advantage when it comes to attracting wine-loving travelers. Surrounded by towering mountain peaks, and two oceans within easy reach from the vineyards, dramatic scenery is taken as a given.
Which means estates need to work hard to set themselves apart in creating a memorable experience to surround the act of tasting the fruits of the vines. And nobody in the Cape does that better than La Motte wine estate in Franschhoek.
That experience begins the moment you venture up the manicured driveway of the estate. Trellised vines surround the historic manor house, while the Wemmershoek Mountains rise up to frame one of the oldest farms in the scenic Franschhoek Valley. Dramatic outdoor artworks hint at the multi-faceted offering, which ranges from art to cuisine to conservation.
Art is a particular passion of owner Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg, and guided scuplture walks are offered each week to highlight the wonderful collection on the estate. The La Motte Museum is also well worth a visit; particularly for its remarkable collection of works by famed South African painter Jakob Hendrik Pierneef.
Pierneef was famous for his landscapes, and on an estate that invests heavily in conservation it’s fitting that his work adorns the labels of La Motte’s acclaimed Pierneef Collection of wines. The Syrah-Viognier blend from cellar master Edmund Terblanche blend is exceptional, and no surprise that Syrah is one of the farm’s signature cultivars.
It’s a cultivar best discovered with the Shiraz Comparative tasting, which guides guests from young Shiraz still in the barrel through a personalised tasting of different blends and styles of Shiraz. It’s the ideal way to discover the ever-changing expressions of this widely-planted varietal. For a glimpse into the evolution of La Motte’s style and vintages ove the years, comparative tastings from the Vinoteque are also offered, but remember that both of these bespoke tastings are by appointment only.
The tasting facility at La Motte
But even a tasting of the current vintages, offered Monday to Saturday from 9am-5pm, is a memorable experience. La Motte prides itself on offering a premium wine tasting experience with knowledgeable wine waiters and fine crystal stemware showing the wines of the estate in the best possible light.
Perhaps the only better way to discover the wines is over lunch at the adjacent Pierneef à La Motte restaurant, where chef Michelle Theron revels in the flavours and inspirations of Cape Winelands Cuisine, offering a modern take on traditional flavours that work in concert with La Motte’s award-winning range of wines.
Pierneef à La Motte family lunch
From art to wine to cuisine this is an estate that applies an unflinching attention to detail to every facet of the visitor experience. Little surprise it was judged a worthy South African winner of the Wine Tourism Services category in the Great Wine Capitals Best Of Wine Tourism Awards 2016.