La Motte Wine Dinner at Shook! – The Art of Fine Wines In A 7-Course Haute Dining Experience (featuring South African wines)

Few weeks back I was privileged enough to be present at a 1 night only, exclusive 7-course haute dinner paired with a trio of acclaimed La Motte wines, guided by an Oenophilist (wine expert).

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The dinner showcased 3 chosen wines from the La Motte vineyard; the La Motte Leopard’s Leap Chenin Blanc, La Motte Chardonnay 2008 & La Motte Millennium 2005.

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The 7 course dinner was at Shook!, Starhill Gallery’s main restaurant, with each dish artfully created & skilfully paired with the South African wines.

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La Motte history spans several centuries back to the arrival of Dutch settlers in the South Africa in the middle of the 17th century. The farm received its name in 1709 when French Huguenot Pierre Joubert named it after the village of his birth, La Motte d’ Aigues.
With the initial planning of 4,000 vineyards in 1752, viticulture was established on La Motte by Huguenot descendant Gabriel du Toit.

** Viticulture (from the Latin word for vine) is the science, production and study of grapes which deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. When the grapes are used for winemaking, it is also known as viniculture. It is one branch of the science of horticulture. (source: Wikipedia!)

2 centuries later, (1970), the La Motte estate exchanged hands when it was acquired by Dr Anton Rupert, a respected industrialist who then set about establishing La Motte as a world-class, wine producing enterprise.

Below: Son -in-law of the present owner of La Motte, Hanneli Koegelenberg, daughter of Dr Anton Rupert – Mr Hein Koegelenberg CEO of La Motte.

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Mr Hein Koegelenberg CEO of La Motte gave a short introduction of the La Motte estate & its wines prior to dinner. A friendly & an extremely astute businessman, it was a pleasure to have met him & certainly a privilege to be able to converse with him over dinner on the topics of his travels & to tap into his knowledge of wines.

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The unique charm of La Motte’s wines comes from the characters bestowed upon them by particular soil types & a favourably moderate climate.

La Motte’s vineyards now comprise of 75 hectares.
Overseen by respected viticulturist Pietie le Roux, state-of-the-art practices such as satellite monitoring & infrared scanning of the vineyards are employed in the management of the vineyard. And over at the vineyards on La Motte’s Nabot farm in the nearby Walker Bay Region (South Africa), SGS- certified Organic Production is applied, thus eliminating the use of chemicals & insecticides. And all of these organically grown grapes are used in La Motte wines!

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Over dinner, I learnt that South African wines are generally categorised under New World Wines. But for La Motte, they obtain the finest grapes from affiliated family-owned vineyards situated in various regions. This adds versatility to the grapes supplied to La Motte’s cellar where the traditional methods are blended with modern science in shaping wines globally renowned for their consistency & excellence.

It was stimulating learning & absorbing all these info over a beautiful meal at Shook! Starhill. My amuse bouche, very chinese inspired & featuring one my favourite tubers – Fluffy Yam Puff Scented with Five Spices whetted my appetite for the evening.

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Leopard’s Leap Chenin Blanc 2009. Leopard’s Leap is another winery run by Mr Hein Koegelenberg CEO of La Motte. Established in 1999, Leopard’s Leap was founded as a second label for Rupert’s wineries. The wine of Leopard’s Leap totally differs from La Motte’s. “Alcohol level must be very low, the tannins very soft and the wine must be easy to drink“.

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Which was precisely why I enjoyed this the most that night. Made 100% from Chenin Blanc grapes, the type mostly used to produce wines of the sparkling variety; this wine has a fresh, crisp taste suitable for any celebrations.

Deep Fried Prawns tossed in Hot Mayonnaise & Topped with Crushed Honey-glazed Walnuts. These first 2 courses reminiscent so much of dim sum that I’m starting to toy with the idea of hosting a “Dim Sum Wine Pairing session”. A light sparkling variety like this would be perfect.

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We moved on to Suimono, Clear Soup of Delicately Diced Chicken, Prawns & Seasonal Vegetables which came piping hot in this little Japanese pot.

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This was followed by the Confit of Sand Goby Fillet with Kumquat Aioli & Momotaro Concasse, which is again Oriental-inspired versus the earlier soup which was very Jap.
I loved every element in this dish; perfect fatty moist cod with piquant, fruity aioli (thanks to the kumquant; I much prefer this to the use of lemons) & sharp tangy-ness from the momotaro tomatoes (my favourite kind!) which all paired very well to cut through the fatty taste of the cod.

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Both dishes were matched with the La Motte Chardonnay 2008, which Mr Hein explained that it’s a “food wine” & goes wonderfully with meals.
I couldn’t agree enough.

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The last dish was the best.
Wagyu Beef Dumpling
, done medium rare inside & paired with the most heavenly potatoes mousse.

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This dish was matched with a red, as expected since it’s red meat. The La Motte Millenium 2005; a Bordeaux-style blend that is made from FIVE grapes varietals, uniquely dominated by Cabernet Franc. To many followers, this remains the La Motte flagship, having earned its reputation through consistency & value over many years.

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Dinner was accompanied with a performance by violinist maestro Andrew Chan.

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Finally the dessert: Dark Bitter Valrhorna Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream & Orange Sorbet. Faultless.

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Below: The dinner showcased some of Leopard’s Leap Wines as well; the sister winery of La Motte in South Africa.

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Leopard’s Leap name comes from the Cape leopard, whose size is only half that of the normal leopard and weight is only 60-65 kgs. There are now only 13 Cape leopards left in the wild.
The Cape Leopard Trust has invested a lot into their research & protection. They equip GPS trackers on each leopard, and endeavour to find more of these majestic cats. 0.5% of Leopard’s Leap’s turnover is donated to the Trust every year. “We cannot just concentrate on the present; we must plan for the future too. Enjoy life but make sure there is something left for the next generation.” Hein told us.

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Leopard’s Leap produces 3 ranges. The premium Family Collection is at the top end, and with its sleek black, gold & red labels, these wines are perfect for special occasions.

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The elegant Classic Collection boast a wide variety of well-structured wines that all pair exceptionally well with a wide selection of food.

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The Lookout Range is more fun loving and is perfect for everyday drinking and as a companion to social events.

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Some African souvenirs on our table during dinner. 😉

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Last but not least, a big thank you to Mr Hein Koegelenberg CEO of La Motte, for the complimentary bottle of Merlot from the Leopard’s Leap Lookout range! :)wine

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La Motte and Leopard’s Leap Wines are available in KL exclusively through:

Thai Seng Marketing Sdn Bhd.
(will update with contact details).

For more information on La Motte winery, visit: http://www.la-motte.com.

All pictures are:

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