The wines of Steenberg, Constantia
South Africa revisited part 23: white wine specialist from Constantia


Steenberg translates as ĎStone Mountainí, and is one of the leading properties of the Constantia wine region. The farm itself dates back to 1682, making it the oldest official farm in South Africa. Initially, it was huge, stretching to Muizenberg. Now itís much smaller, with 60 hectares of vineyards, but thereís also a high-end hotel and spa, a golf course and a restaurant. It is owned by Graham Beck (since 2005).

JD Pretorius

The focus here is on Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. There are 37 hectares of Sauvignon and 6 hectares of Semillon. I visited with cellar master John Loubser and winemaker JD Pretorius.

John Loubser

We also lunched at the fabulous Bistro 1682, which is a great combination of tasting room and high-end restaurant. 

The wines impressed. I was particularly surprised by the performance of the 1995 Sauvignon Blanc, which was lovely. Who'd have though it?


Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Nice fresh aromatics. Fruity, bright, pithy and a bit green with nice acidity and fresh fruit. 89/100

Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Slightly smoky with nice greenness and good fruit. Pleasant pithy edge. Still fresh and appealing. Fine with good acidity. 88/100

HMS Rattlesnake 2011
This is a new label and incorporates fruit from Darling and Durbanville. The Darling component is fermented in 500 and 600 litre barrels. This is fresh and citrussy with a nice thiol component, some fatness and pithy citrus notes.

HMS Rattlesnake 2010
Chalky, green, fresh and pithy with some richness and wood influence. Fresh and full. 88/100

Steenberg Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Ripe, fruity and lively with nice acidity under the richness. A ripe, concentrated style. 90/100

Steenberg Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Some green pepper, asparagus and melon notes on the nose. Very fruity and fine with fresh, grassy fruit notes. Mineral with some chalky notes. Lots of interest here, and great concentration. 91/100 (190 Rand)

Steeberg Semillon 2011 (barrel sample)
This is barrel fermented. From a young vineyard, it shows tangerine, grapefruit and citrus notes with some green herbiness. Very lively. First crop, 3 year old vines.

Steenberg Semillon 2010
40% new oak. Grassy with some toastiness but also mandarin and citrus notes. Lovely fruit expression. 90/100

Steenberg Semillon 2007
6 weeks in 100% new oak. Green pepper, herb and asparagus notes here with citrus and grapefruit freshness. A bit green. 86/100

Steenberg Methode Cape Classique 2009
Pithy, taut and lemony with nice freshness. Some minerality. Fruity and straightforward in style. 88/100

Steenberg Magna Carta 2009
The flagship wine of Steenberg, a Sauvignon Semillon blend. Itís the second vintage (first was 2007). Crisp with some chalky greenness. Pithy, citrussy and ripe with some tangerine and grapefruit notes. Fine and precise. 90/100

Steenberg Magna Carta 2007
Grapefruit, tangerine and and citrus notes with subtle herbiness. Very expressive with refinement and a gentle texture. 92/100

Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc 1998
Gold colour. Intense, rich and slightly oxidised with nut and citrus notes. Rounded and nutty, this has seen better days, but it is still quite a nice drink. 86/100

Steenberg Catharina 2000
Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend. Golden colour. Lively, spicy and peachy with real intensity. Bold and nutty with some evolution. Drinking very well still. 90/100

Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc 1995
Yellow/gold colour. Beautifully alive with ripe peach and melon flavours, as well as some citrus peel. Pure and fresh with lovely texture. Thrillingly lively. 93/100

Part 1, Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards
Part 2, Cape Point Vineyards
Part 3, AA Badenhorst Family Wines
Part 4, Eben Sadie: Sadie Family Wines and Sequillo Cellars
Part 5, Paul Kretzel of Lammershoek
Part 6, Mullineux Family Wines
Part 7, Vondeling
Part 8, Scali
Part 9, Sterhuis
Part 10, Raats
Part 11, Migliarina
Part 12, Charles Back and Fairview
Part 13, Hermit on the Hill
Part 14, Klein Constantia
Part 15, Iona, Elgin
Part 16, Paul Cluver, Elgin
Part 17, Eagles' Nest, Constantia
Part 18, Anthonij Rupert
Part 19, Rupert & Rothschild
Part 20, Oak Valley, Elgin
Part 21, Shannon, Elgin
Part 22, La Motte
Part 23, Steenberg, Constantia

Wines tasted 03/11  
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