Sparkling wines with their festive bubbles and crowd-pleasing popping of corks, are elemental to most special celebrations, but a beautiful South African sparkling wine made in the traditional French way, can be about more than its fizz, something that is also true for the 2018 La Motte Cap Classique.
More than a sparkling wine to fill festive clinking glasses, this latest release from La Motte is an exceptional glass of wine to enjoy on its own and a versatile partner to food. While it is impossible to ignore the fine mousse and infinite stream of beguiling bubbles, the recently released classic sparkling wine blend of Chardonnay (91%) and Pinot Noir (9%) holds much potential. Currently crisp with the emphasis on ripe strawberry flavours even though Pinot Noir only makes up a small part of the blend, the complexities of its, now, refreshing palate promise to mellow and mature. With a predominant percentage of Chardonnay (5% of which is from barrel matured 2017 La Motte Chardonnay), one can soon expect the development of richer sparkling wine flavours and yeasty notes reminiscent of freshly baked bread and roasted nuts.
The wine’s food matching ability promises to develop alongside its flavour profile. At the moment it is a brilliant partner to fresher styles of soft cheese such as burrata or mozzarella, grilled fish, sushi and leafy salads. La Motte Cellarmaster, Edmund Terblanche, is, however, convinced that creamy egg dishes, luxurious oysters, buttery pastries like croissant and treats such as apple tart would be the wine’s ideal partners in the not-too-distant future.
Both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are harvested on La Motte and come from vineyards that are 25 and 8 years old respectively. The vineyards grow 200 meter above sea level in sandy Clovelly soils and are managed to maintain a perfect balance between leaf coverage and yield. While dry conditions resulted in a 15% lower yield, it also ensured healthy grapes. The grapes were harvested between 18 and 20 degrees Balling and were fermented separately. Bunches were whole-pressed and the juice was allowed to settle before cool-fermentation. With secondary fermentation in the bottle, the wine was matured on the lees for 45 months. The style of wine is “Brut Natural”, so no sweetening was added during the degorging that took place in March 2022. Only 4300 bottles were released.
While this sparkling wine is bone dry, the extended maturation on the lees ensures fulness. The bouquet is sophisticated while the fine bubbles and enticing mousse bring excitement. Regardless of season or situation, as a refreshing aperitif or charming company at the dinner table, the 2018 La Motte Cap Classique is much more than the merriment of a special occasion.