Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The X-Factor of Franschhoek Chardonnay

Did you know? Together with Sauvignon Blanc & Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay is 1 of 3 most planted varieties in Franschhoek,
Did you know? Together with Semillon, Chardonnay is regarded as the future of wine production in the Valley.



La Motte recently released their 2015 Chardonnay & their 2013 Méthode Cap Classique, which is 68% Chardonnay.



Cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche shares his ideas around why Franschhoek Chardonnay so special: "Chardonnay's popularity makes it one of the most planted white varieties in the world - about 160,000 ha. It is also planted in more wine grape areas than any other grape variety."

In recent years many a viticulturist (a fancy name for those guys that grow grapes) have come to an agreement that Chardonnay is an easy variety to produce, as it can be planted in most wine countries & still result in a wine of a satisfactory quality. 

So with a bit of research, I discovered that Chardonnay best performs when planted in a lime-rich almost chalky, poor & well-drained soil with a much cooler climate.
Now, Franschhoek does not have a lime-rich soil & we all now that it the climate in Franschhoek is most definitely not cool, but they do have the poor well-drained soil. But is this actually enough to give us the best Chardonnay? It must be something special, that special X-Factor that has the Chardonnay from the Valley consistently performing well & being listed under the Top 10 of the Chardonnay du Monde competition. 


Something that I was taught a while back, is that you need to use all 5 your senses to enjoy a glass of wine properly.

So here is how you go about it:
1. Hearing. You toast to good wine & clink your glass with another.
2. Sight. Look at the wine & what do you see. 
3. Smell. Take in the aroma of the wine & identify what you smell on the nose
4. Feel. Take a sip of wine & swirl it in your mouth. Left-to-Right. Back-to-Front. Let it roll over your tongue & feel the wine move in your mouth.
5. Taste. The easy part. What do you taste? Identify some of the flavours that coming through & are prominent on your palate.



So I indulged in a bottle of the La Motte 2015 Chardonnay over the December holiday & here are my notes.
1. I shared a glass with my Dad & we toasted to family being together over the festive season. Cheers.
2. The La Motte 2015 Chardonnay has a light straw colouring.
3. Initially I picked up on the fruity smell. On the 2nd take, I pick up pears & then there is a slight sweet oak somewhere.
4. Wow. What a smooth, creamy & polished wine. For some reason, La Motte seems to get this right with a lot of their wines. 
5. A beautiful lingering citrus taste of a fresh lime & the after taste of green apples.



A bit of background info on the La Motte Chardonnay:
- Originates from La Motte & is planted 200 m above sea-level on southern & south-western slopes.
- At the cellar you can get a bottle for R110 each.
- Alcohol - 12.35% vol
- Residual sugar - 1.5 g/l
- Total acid - 6.1 g/l
- pH - 3.55

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