La Motte 2007 Shiraz

Type: Dry red
Made with: Syrah grapes, (aka shiraz)
Plays well with: Beef, beef and more beef.

Usually, when you put your nose in a glass of shiraz, it’s all fruit.  Shiraz, which is the Australian name for syrah, is often picked when the grapes are a lot riper than European syrahs, so you get more of that ripe smell and flavor in the wine.

Not so with this shiraz from South Africa’s La Motte (shiraz is also the preferred term for syrah in South Africa, as well).  In this case, the aroma of the fruit was faint or muted.  But there were some nice acids in the taste, which means this is definitely a food wine.  Frankly, the wine was as much about its texture in the mouth as it was its taste – with a slatey, mineral feel to it.  That’s not a bad thing – unless you really loathe mineral water.

Without getting into the whole debate about whether components in a given soil can actually be tasted in the wine (biologists say no, wine geeks say yes), there do seem to be some soils that have a lot of minerals in them that do seem to end up in the wine.  And this appears to be one of those situations.  The nice thing about the mineral taste in this wine is that it adds some extra layers to a wine that could be a little blah without it.

Given its relatively low alcohol of 13.9 percent, we’re guessing this was picked rather early in the harvest year, which makes sense.  Winemaker Edmund Terblanche did tell us that he is going after a more French/European sensibility in his wines.

Unfortunately, La Motte wines aren’t really available in the US, but are in Canada.  Or on the website, www.la-motte.com.

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