JD Pretorius, award winning winemaker at Steenberg in the Constantia Wine Appellation, produces a range of Cap Classique and sparkling wines of which the non-vintage Steenberg 1682 Brut Chardonnay is one. Made from a selection of Chardonnay grapes from three other Wine Appellations, Robertson, Bonnievale and Darling. The vines from which they are harvested are between 20 and 25 years old, a venerable age for a South African vineyard.
Made by the traditional French Champagne method, known locally as Méthode Cape Classique. The grapes are harvested by hand at a lower sugar than usual, as the second fermentation adds alcohol to the wine. Whole bunch pressed, the juice is fermented with a special yeast for this wine style – now it is high in acidity and there is not much of the Chardonnay flavour discernible. Once this base wine is fermented dry and stabilised, a liqueur de tirage of wine and sugar is added to the bottle for the second fermentation. During this time, the sugar is converted to alcohol, CO2 is given off which returns to the wine as the tiniest of bubbles. The wine is then matured on its yeast lees for a year and up to 18 months before disgorging, corking and packaging.
It looks like
Classical Champagne shaped bottle with elegant yellow livery. IN the glass, a pale lemony straw colour with a mass of the tiniest bubbles rushing to the top of the glass.
It smells like
Fresh, nose tickling from the bubbles. Fruit, fruit, fruit from green apples, ripe white fleshed peaches and lemon drops.
It tastes like
Lively and complex from entry with the crispest of acidity. Mouth filling with the white peach repeating and almond brioche undertow. Long ending, ‘asking for more’ flavours.
It’s good with
Traditionally used as a celebration wine, so used with oysters, smoked salmon, sashimi or Ceviche. However, I think it is the perfect wine for all times and with most foods. Tarragon and Chicken in a Cream Sauce is such a French dish. Dianne Bibby’s Tarragon Cream Chicken with pink peppercorns is a dream dish for this wine, and also with the Steenberg Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, of which I talk below. Click here for her recipe.
While this is currently sold out at the Farm, the Steenberg Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc may still be on the shelves at a store near you – grab it! JD Pretorius makes it as a fun, fruity and fresh. The generous smells are all of fabulous fruit, granadilla, pink grapefruit, melon, guava, mango and green fig. The palate from entry is uplifting, fresh and zippy with an undertow of desiccated pineapple, the return of granadilla. Lovely long aftertaste, crisp and fresh.
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If you are in Cape Town and have not yet visited Steenberg it should be on your bucket list. The Estate has two excellent restaurants, Catherina’s and Bistro 1682, both of which offer excellent fare to partner the Steenberg Wines.
Read more about Steenberg Farm – CLICK HERE