Steenberg Estate was granted to the Widow Catharina Ras in 1682. She had a series of husbands who died under the feet of an elephant, eaten by a lion, speared by a local. However, she made her mark and is honoured today not only as the first owner, but also having a superb restaurant on the estate, Catharina’s named for her, and also one of the Estate’s more special wines, the Steenberg Catharina 2015. Here Archie McLean, the head chef produces some magical dishes using his Scottish breeding and talents. ‘Well worth a visit’ as they say in the Guide Michelin.
JD Pretorius, the Estate’s award-winning winemaker, took an Award at the recent Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show for the best Museum Class, with the Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2011. Proving that the Constantia Whites have a wonderful ability to age. A single vineyard wine, this was the last bottling of its kind.
The grapes for the Steenberg Catharina 2015 come from trellised vineyards planted on Clovelly and decomposed granite soil between 12 and 21 years old. The blend is made up of 80% Merlot, 16% Shiraz and 4% Petit Verdot. JD Pretorius vinifies the wines separately for later blending. Fermented on the skins with gentle pump overs twice a day, the wines spent 19 months in French oak Barrels of which 72% were new – during this time malolactic fermentation took place. The wines were then blended, a selection of the best barrels for this flagship wine, and then prepared for bottling with a light fining.
It looks like
Bottled in a very handsome embossed Constantia, Bordeaux shaped bottle under natural cork. In the glass, it is deeply darkly plum at the core which pales out to garnet at the edges.
It smells like
Blackcurranty, touch of Bovril, Morello Cherries, tea leaves and oak and its concomitant spices in support.
It tastes like
The three grape varieties each offer some of their uniqueness. The Merlot beings its ripe plums and fraises des bois. The Shiraz offers its dark fruits, a grind of pepper and some soft charcuterie. My dear friend Petit Verdot does its usual thing, hardly any in the blend yet making such a difference to both the colour, the mouthfeel and its whiffs of violet. The components of fruit, brightness and gentle but present tannins and the well applied oaking all mean that this wine will age well if properly cellared for anything up to 12 years.
It’s good with
A wine which is the perfect after dinner accompaniment to philosophical discussion about the next Springbok Rugby tour or the French Open – will Nadal wine? As a food wine it is pretty close to perfection at this stage of its life – it will only get better. The two Steenberg Chefs, Archie McLean of Catharina’s and Kerry Kilpin of Bistro 1682 have a number of dishes on their menus to match this wine. If you are not close by, Hein van Tonder’s Pork Belly Kebabs will do the trick. Such a talented cook and food photographer, do follow Hein on his lovely website. Click here for his recipe. Do have a little trawl around while you are there, his recipes are so innovative, different and utterly delicious.
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