Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A visit to L'Ormarins and La Motte in Franschhoek

It is lovely to be on the receiving end sometimes. Last week some friends from Australia took us and some of their friends from Australia on a wine tour with lunch to Franschhoek. We began at Anthonij Rupert with a tour of the Motor Museum and then moved to the historic Manor house
Note: You do need to make appointments at both should you want to visit
The manor house is from a past age and is furnished in mid 19th Century antiques
You can taste their Cape of Good Hope and Anthonij Rupert wine ranges
They have an MCC and nougat paired tasting and you can enjoy high tea in the beautiful garden
We enjoyed a glass of the Brut Rosé MCC while chatting
and then took a short tour of the house, which has magnificent bedrooms with bathrooms dressed to perfection in the Victorian style. They do have lots of other things to do on the estate: another venue called Terra del Capo for wine tasting, and a restaurant and a tram that connects all of them. And you can book all of these for one price. Look at their website for details.
We then sat down at the long table for our guided wine tasting. Because of the timing of our lunch booking, we could only do a small tasting
We began with the Ou Bosstok 2017 Chenin Blanc with smoke and figs on the nose, a lovely full mouthful of lively lemons and limes
Then the 2015 Laing Semillon. Rich nose, almost olive oil, crisp, sophisticated and interesting on the palate, a food wine.
The Cape of Good Hope Serruria 2016 Chardonnay is perfumed with golden fruit, and full of limes, lemon, butter on the palate, made for serving with cheese
Next, a red wine from the next door farm, the 2014 Optima Bordeaux blend; 60% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich red fruit on the nose, plums and cherries on the palate, soft and silky with some umami flavours and wood on the end
Then the Anthony Rupert Cabernet Sauvignon. Cassis and red velvet on the nose, chalky tannins, soft cassis fruit and long flavours
The final wine was the Syrah. Rich on the nose, huge fruit, warm alcohol, berry bursts of purple fruit, cherries, plums, spice and pepper notes with soft chalky tannins. Very, very good. We should mention that almost all the wines score 4.5 to 4 stars in the Platter Wine Guide
Then our hired minibus delivered us to La Motte for lunch in the Pierneef restaurant
The lunch menu. All the dishes are paired with wines which you can have by the glass, which most of us opted to do
The menu is not detailed, the dishes are, so pick your favourite ingredient and you will be delighted
We were sent a salmon mousse amuse bouche and some good bread accompanied by whipped lard and some humus
Many on our table ordered the mussels starter and said it was fantastic, in a creamy seafood sauce
The starter La Motte Garden salad with cured egg, herbs and cheese
Lynne ordered the lamb rib, which was served on a bed of rosemary and another aromatic herb
Coated in sesame seed, it was beautifully flavoured and the meat fell off the bone
It was accompanied by a dish of chakalaka, which is a robust dish of onion, tomato, pepper, chilli, garlic and ginger
Lynne detected some nuts in it and it was on a bed of pulled lamb, which itself was on a thin pancake of polenta
They went so well together, warm, spicy and zingy
This was the vegetarian option of potato dumplings with spinach and morel mushrooms
The Belly of Pork was in a rich broth and a rhubarb chutney and was topped with tempura baby leeks and nasturtium leaves
Many of us could not resist ordering the duck and it was a great choice. Two slices of meltingly tender, pink duck breast, perfectly rendered crisp skin topped with nuts. Accompanied by a whole roasted fig, a tiny vol au vent filled with fig and duck geziers and liver; fig reduction dressed the plate with some ash. Served with a small salad and creamy pomme purée
The cheese course - four local cheeses, some watermelon konfyt and a relish, lavash and soft bread
The Chocolate cremeux and Passion fruit yogurt sorbet with honeycomb and a brandy snap was said to be very enjoyable
Our chef was Erik Bulpitt whom we know from when he was with George Jardine, then Newton Johnson restaurant in the Hemel and Aarde and most recently at Avondale. He is a very good chef, using good local ingredients and keeping the flavours real
One of the delights at La Motte is the wonderful Pierneef Gallery
in which we spent some time after lunch looking at his range of works
The beautiful porcelain plates from the 17th Century were made in China and brought here by the Dutch East India Company. So the not very realistic depiction of the animal, proteas and Table Mountain on each of them is from a description, not experience. They were made for use in the Cape and, we believe, come from the wreck of the Oosterland which was wrecked in Table Bay in 1697. Lynne's brother-in-law, Christopher, was one of the divers who found her
Here is another depiction of Table Bay and the mountain and it also shows Lions Head and the Twelve Apostles
There are huge chandeliers made from pieces of this porcelain, which you can see in the photograph of the interior
We then went to visit the Cheetah Project in the grounds of Grande Provence
These are rescued animals who, we were told, cannot be reintroduced into the wild
You get to stroke them while the handler holds their heads. They purr a lot, so appear to like it
We did a quick stroke
But we were concerned that this much contact all day long by visitors must surely be very tiring and stressful for the animals
Their fur up close is so beautiful
He's watching you, John
Wonderful paddy paws, shaped like tear drops on this fastest of all animals.
A group photo with our friends Phillip and Diana Loots

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