How nuanced does a wine rating system have to be? Two vintages of Hanneli R, the flagship wine from La Motte in Franschoek, side by side over the weekend and I ended up scoring them the same although preferring the 2007 over the 2005…
Hanneli R 2005: 17/20
55% Shiraz, 29% Grenache, 8% Cinsaut and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Red and black berries, spice as well as some savoury attributes (raw meat and nuttiness). Lots of concentrated fruit but oak also much in evidence. Rich and full with smooth tannins. Not entirely exaggerated but more daunting than joyous to drink.
Hanneli R 2007: 17/20
81% Shiraz, 10% Grenache and 9% Mourvèdre. Very expressive on the nose: red berries, floral perfume, fynbos and a hint of vanilla. Medium bodied and well delineated – pure fruit, fresh acidity and firm yet fine tannins. Rhône-like in broad terms. Engaging but a tiny bit short of the complexity of other local wines in a similar vein.
The 2005 was the maiden vintage of Hanneli R and the 2007 the second to be released, still available from the tasting room at R806 a bottle. Fascinating to watch as La Motte CEO Hein Koegelenberg and cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche deliberate as to which style best justifies the price tag.