Monday, May 25, 2009

1987 La Motte Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 91 Points

1987 La Motte Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 91 Points

Not acknowledge as one of best vintages, 1987 was more favourable for early harvested white grapes (I still remember the 1987 Blanc de Blancs from Klein Constantia Estate, still lively, when last tasted in march 2009) than late harvested varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon.

A vintage plague by humidity, downy as well as powdery mildew, and the few I have tasted from benchmark cabernet Sauvignon of that era, did not impress, until that bottle of La Motte Estate, which was bought as a gift at Mooiberg farm stall, in Stellenbosch last week.

“Medium clear (after decanting) bright, garnet red with brown rim, medium concentration, some sediment nevertheless, low plus viscosity.

Clean, medium intensity, nose revealing age, tertiary fruit of preserved maraschino cherries, cassis confit, dry straw, spicy note of musk and nutmeg dust, hints of old leather.

Dusty earthiness, with hints of barnyard, surprisingly the oak was initially fragrant, a predominance of sweet vanillin, definitely French, small barrels.
Dry, confirm fruit initially perceived, with earthy note, touch of burnt tobacco, dry tannins, slightly angular, low plus acidity, low plus alcohol, of only 12.5 %, these were the days when South African viticulturist were picking on sugar level, rather than on physiological ripeness, medium finish, with a medium lingering complexity, very claret like.

Surprisingly regarding composition, more of a profile of aged St Emillion, reminds me a lot of the 1989, that’s drinking so well now, rather than the left bank.

So the verdict after 22 years from vintage, this Cabernet Sauvignon, might be a unique case survivor, as not only it’s holding very well for it’s age, but whatever was left in the decanter was re-tasted the following morning, and still going strong.
This Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the valley floor, with a predominance of shale with sandstone and granite, is another testament that good quality driven Cape whites and reds, do have the aptitude to be cellared and improved with time, over the years and certainly by New World standard, is to be applauded.

This Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% grown in Franschhoek was made by the then cellarmaster, Jacques Borman, of which I remember tasting one of his wine, during my second holiday in the Cape in 2000, a 1997 Millenium, a Cape Bordeaux style, was simply mind blowing with it’s tight structure, complexity and length.

28 days dry aged, flame grilled Angus beef fillet, served with baby vegetables a l'Anglaise, lardon, clear jus, enhanced with freshly grounded Sichuan pepper and seasoned with fleur de sel

For more details on TOMATO CATERING, please contact Stacey Chan at,