Steenberg Farm is one of the oldest granted estates in the Constantia Valley. Granted to The Widow Catherina Ras by Governor Simon van der Stel in 1682, the Estate continues to produce the finest of wines, using their own grapes and also those of contracted growers in other wine appellations. The Steenberg Sphynx Chardonnay 2017 is made from grapes from 6 to 31-year-old vineyards in Robertson and Bonnievale, appellations well known for producing great Chardonnay from its calcareous soils.
The Sphynx is one of a trio of ‘fleet wines’ recently released by the estate to honour three British battleships which took part in the Battle of Muizenberg on August 7th, 1795 as part of an invasion of the Dutch ruled Cape Colony by British forces.
Dealt with in a unique way, JD Pretorius, Steenberg’s award-winning Winemaker, the grapes were gently pressed and then allowed to settle out clear and then racked. Half went into older large French oak barrels using natural yeasts from the vineyards. The other components were inoculated with natural yeast and fermented some in new French oak barrels and the remainder in stainless steel tanks. The barrel fermentation and maturation took 4 months. Partial malolactic fermentation took place in barrel, though it was stopped to retain some of its freshness. The various components were then blended and the wine prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled under screw cap in a Burgundy shaped bottle with a classical elegant Steenberg label. In the glass, it is a pale golden straw with lime green flashes.
It smells like
Layers of fruit. Ripe white flashed peach. Golden Delicious apple. Poached quince. Undertow of toasted brioche.
It tastes like
Very accessible now. Full round flavours of peach, apple and quince as experienced in the nose. Silky smooth with a golden thread of acidity runs through from entry to end. If cellared for anything from 2 to 5 years. A really enchanting wine.
It’s good with
Good as a sipper. Excellent with food. With sushi, sashimi and ceviche. Smoked fish, mussels. Any number of dishes on the Bistro 1682 or the Catharina’s, the two restaurants on the Estate, will match this wine perfectly. It can happily take on a spicy dish, so Nina Timm’s Chicken Breyani from the Bo Kaap. Click here for her recipe.
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