Weekend Post (South Africa)
La Motte wines impress at food and wine pairing
IT’S usually around this time of year that my longing for the Cape winelands begins. It’s when the red grape harvests are in swing and you hear from those in the industry how intensively stressful and busy, but somehow crazily addictive, this period can be.
It was therefore a pleasure catching up with someone deeply immersed in the wine industry this week.
Marius Kotze is the international sales and marketing director for La Motte and Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek. He spends much of his time in countries like Britain, Germany and, increasingly, China, but was able to squeeze in a visit to the Bay for a five-course food and wine pairing at Bocadillos on First on Tuesday.
The Walmer eatery’s accomplished head chef, Institute of Culinary Arts graduate Heila van Zyl, personally tasted all the wines made available and crafted a show-stopping autumn menu to complement each selection.
The Méthode Cap Classique 2013 was a fitting start as a welcome drink alongside the field mushroom risotto balls filled with Dalewood brie, which were enthusiastically scarfed down by guests.
There’s nothing like a good bubbly to open up the appetite and this one, with its fine, lasting mousse and multi-layered aromas, is right up there with the fancy French stuff.
La Motte’s wine-making tradition goes back to 1752 with the planting of 4 000 vines by the Huguenot descendant Gabriël du Toit, though the land had already been acquired by German immigrant Hans Hattingh in 1695. But it was the French Huguenot Pierre Joubert who is said to have named it after La Motte d’Aigues, his home village in Provence.
La Motte, interestingly, also has an enduring link to the Eastern Cape. It was bought in 1970 by the late Dr Anton Rupert, the billionaire businessman, philanthropist and conservationist who was born and raised in Graaff-Reinet, where the Rupert legacy still runs deep.
La Motte is now owned by his daughter, mezzo-soprano Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg, whose husband, Hein Koegelenberg, is chief executive. Under their watchful eye it’s grown into a leading global producer, not to mention a sought-after destination.
Meridian Wine Merchants, represented at the dinner by the Bay’s Olga Hafner, are responsible for making sure the wines reach the length and breadth of South Africa.
Following the rich risotto balls our next delight came in the form of a rolled salad with poached prawns and tropical salsa, matched to the Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – one of my current favourites. I loved the delicacy of this dish and Marius remarked a good chenin might also have served it well.
The pairing of the La Motte Chardonnay 2015 with our starter of grilled kingklip with buttered greens, baby fries and a creamy leek sauce was superb.
Marius agreed this was the star pairing of the night since the dish allowed the classic chardonnay to fully reveal its freshness and elegance.
Next up was the Pierneef Syrah Viognier 2014, served with an autumnal main course of beautifully prepared kudu loin, fondant potatoes, baby carrots, butternut puree and a marvelously meaty gravy (I am so over calling it “jus”).
This wine is a blend of 95% syrah (the Aussies call it shiraz) and 5% viognier. The viognier adds an aromatic, perfume-like quality and a softer mouth-feel, we were told.
The final dish, chocolate and prune mud cake with fig chocolate soil, mascarpone and ganache, was surprisingly well matched to another red, the Syrah 2013 with its tantalising spice notes. tourist