Side note: The Husband got to tag along for this adventure because we got to visit on a Saturday (lucky for him). But it was also lucky for me, because it turns out that The Husband actually likes (and is pretty decent at) taking photographs with my new camera. Most of these below are his photographs and I have not edited them at all. (Like, seriously)
So anyway, we were super chuffed to head out into Franschhoek on our weekend. It's such a beautiful wine valley and there is just so much to see. I'd recommend spending one whole day at La Motte as they have a lot to do - all in one venue.
On your way in, you are surrounded by beautiful mountains overlooking La Motte's vineyards and well-maintained gardens.
Once we arrived through the front doors of La Motte, we were greeted by Edwina, who took us to the wine tasting venue. This venue is to the right (once you've walked through the front house).
You walk across a bridge with a pretty river flowing below you on your way to the tasting venue. (When we have had more rain, this river must be really lovely to see.)
The wine tasting venue can get pretty full on weekends, so I would recommend making a booking. For our tasting experience, we were fortunate to have Shannon serving us - she is very professional and knowledgeable about the wines and it was lovely to hear a little bit about the history of the La Motte Estate.
The wine tasting typically costs R50 per person (R60 if you are part of a group) and includes the tasting of 7 wines. This particular tasting option is called the Current Vintage Tasting. I found it to be quite unique as it switched between whites and reds, instead of flowing from white to red, like most places do.
The tasting order was as follows:
- 2017 La Motte Sauvignon Blanc
- 2016 La Motte Millennium (red blend)
- 2017 La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc
- 2016 La Motte Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2016 La Motte Chardonnay
- 2015 La Motte Syrah
- 2015 La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier (yes, you read that right - red and white together)
I found the Sauvignon Blanc and Millennium wines to be pretty easy-drinking. (They are pictured below.) I think the Sauvignon Blanc, in particular, would be a great summer wine. However, I much preferred La Motte's reds. The Cabernet Sauvignon was lovely, as was the Syrah. Our favourite, though, was the last wine we tried - the Syrah and Viognier blend.
It only has 6% of Viognier so it doesn't make an obvious difference to the eye (to me), but it does make a difference in the taste. It's spicy, smooth, well-balanced and really enjoyable. I think it's worth it's price at R260 a bottle, but I would be interested to see what it'll be like in 5 years or so. It's great now, but I reckon it would be really fantastic in a few years.
There are other tasting options too. You can taste the older vintages that La Motte has to offer and also different styles of their Syrah. It costs R200 per person and you have to book your appointment in advance.
You can also have a Food and Wine Pairing, which also costs R200 per person and you also have to book ahead.
The tasting room has a nice view of the cellar (see below left) and houses a cool display of the various sizes of the La Motte bottles (see below right).
After our tasting, we headed to the Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant. The previous chef, Michelle Theron, has been wonderful, but the appointment of their new chef, Eric Bulpitt, will be officially announced in July and so I'm looking forward to see what exciting things come about. The restaurant essentially makes South African cuisine (with a focus specifically on the Cape Winelands) and the chef serves it with a modern flair, and the dishes are beautifully presented.
When we arrived we received some delicious bread and butter. And although I am going to be showing you our lovely meals, I just love simple bread and butter (with salt, of course, and a glass of wine). To me, it is one of the simple pleasures in life. The restaurant served us a 'normal' butter and a 'Shiraz' butter. If I tell you the Shiraz butter tastes like the sediment at the bottom of a bottle of Shiraz mixed with butter, you would probably think it tastes awful, but it was actually pretty cool 🙂 I still prefer the normal one though...
Before you place your order, the chef provides you with an Amuse-bouche - as a kind of thank you for choosing to eat at his/her restaurant and also as a ''taste'' of their talent and what they have to offer.
We received this little plate of pig's trotters and ox tounge (I think). Although I can appreciate that the flavours worked very well together, this appetizer was just a bit too ''out there" for me. If you're a picky eater, or you have ''feebies'' about eating weird animal bits, then you wouldn't really enjoy it that much. But that is just me. The Husband enjoyed his and even finished mine! (On a side note, I don't eat liver or kidneys either, so that probably puts the above opinion into perspective.)
Because we enjoyed it that much, we opted to order a bottle of the Syrah Viognier (see below). The waitress keeps it for you and tops it up as you drink it, but we managed to snap a pic of it with their funky decor included in the shot.
Although the starters looked really tempting, we decided to skip them as we saw that the main courses would be ample for lunch.
I went with the fish dish (see below). It costs R225 and is served with a sorghum and curry-braised fennel risotto and a turmeric latté on the side. The fish was Yellowtail and it was cooked beautifully - crispy skin and soft on the inside. I truly enjoyed this dish! The curry flavours in it were so delicious. The fennel risotto was fantastic and I loved the added touches of the little bits of popcorn. The latté on the side was a cool idea. It added to this dish nicely and had a lovely flavour (not too spicy). If I went back, I think I'd order it again - I liked it that much.
The Husband will always pick a meat dish if he can and there were some interesting options, like Boerbok and Pork Cheeks. He ended up choosing the Lamb dish (see below).
This rosemary-and-lemon-cured Karoo Lamb costs R240 and a lot of effort is put into it as the lamb is slow-cooked and pressed. It's served with sweet beer-and-mustard onions and a smoked baked-potato hash. The Husband thoroughly enjoyed it. I tasted it too and the meat was really tender and the sauce was delicious. The added touches of the potato chips and potato crisp added good texture to the dish.
Then, we had a look at the dessert menu. Wow! They have some great choices. Because we were pretty full, we decided to share a dessert.
We opted for the Shortbread, toffee and caramel dessert (see below). It costs R115 and it's an entire plate of goodness. The menu describes it as "the grown-up version of a childhood favourite of many South Africans – millionaire’s shortbread", and that is exactly what it's like. It is a vanilla and almond butter shortbread, which contains salted caramel, a chocolate glaze, Nyangbo cocoa beans, and Caramelia chocolate. And it was so yum! I just love salted caramel and so I really enjoyed this. It's super sweet though - I am glad we shared it!
(Also, how awesome is The Husband's photo? Shh - don't tell him we said that...)
We had a great time at Pierneef à La Motte with really good service. I'd really recommend it for a special date day, or even for Mother's Day coming up.
On our way out, we passed this really cool area where you can have a look at the vines of the various cultivars (see below). It's so great to watch them change with the seasons and for you to be able to read up a little bit more about the wines you will enjoy at La Motte.
Other than the wine tasting venue and the restaurant, there is also a hiking trail, a museum and a farm shop, so you can really take your time exploring what the venue has to offer. You can view all of the experiences that they have here.
They're open daily from 9:00am to 17:00pm and the restaurant is open for a special dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Contact: +27 (0)21 876 8000
Address: R45 Main Road, Franschhoek Valley
Star Rating: ****
Note: I was invited to visit La Motte by Hatch Communications and thus everything we received was complimentary. This review is based solely on this specific experience.