2009 – a Special Vintage for Wine

2009 is regarded as having been an exceptional vintage in South Africa. As proved by its 2009 wines being awarded with one international accolade after the other, La Motte has reaped the benefits. Cellar Master Edmund Terblanche shares his thoughts on why this vintage was so special.

Compared with the rest of the wine world, South Africa’s summer temperatures are quite high. This has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, we rarely have catastrophic losses due to extreme cold, but, to our disadvantage, excessive heat can rob the grapes of that final 10% required for the production of world-class wines.

Favourable factors counteracting the heat are the south-easter, height above sea level, south-facing slopes and the closeness of the sea.

Every 10 to 15 years these conditions combine with ideal weather conditions and the result is an exceptional vintage, as was 2009. Veterans in the South African wine Industry believe that it has been one of the best in 20 years, or even for as long as they can remember.

Although there are a magnitude variables, when we have a closer look at 2009 we notice the following:

Approaching the harvesting season, a number of factors, for instance a heat wave in the beginning of December, caused a naturally lower yield. At this stage the heat had a positive result – there was enough time for remaining bunches to recover and there was less fruit on the vines. Dry conditions and winds in December and January prevented the forming of bigger berries, favouring good concentration. The rest of the ripening period was cooler and the start of harvest was delayed by more than a week – grapes had more time to ripen optimally and the cooler conditions conserved natural flavours.

While we lost in quantity, we gained in quality, as proved by this performance of 2009 La Motte wines:

La Motte Sauvignon Blanc

John Platter, 4 stars

La Motte Shiraz

John Platter, 4½ stars

Top 100 SA Wines 2012

Councours Mondial, Gold

La Motte Cabernet Sauvignon

La Motte Millennium

John Platter, 4 stars

Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc (OG)

Pierneef Shiraz * Viognier

Top 100 SA Wines 2012

Méthode Cap Classique

Mundus Vini, Gold


Veritas, Gold




John Platter, 4½ stars

Veritas, Gold


John Platter, 4½

John Platter, 5 stars


Terroir Wine Awards, Gold

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