Steenberg: A Legendary Food and Wine Experience
I am going to be real honest here. Steenberg would never be my choice of wine establishment to just “hang”. It just looks so how can I say… rah-rah? I have this weird idea that when you visit Steenberg you need get all dolled up… like the nines, you know.. dressing up like you do for the Durban July or something and rocking up in a bright red super car. Well needless to say, when I received an invite to come and experience Steenberg; you can imagine how I felt. It was like Cinderella receiving an invite to the ball.
Thankfully at this ball I took my knight in shining armour – or should I rather say my Knight in wining armour; my very good friend Cape of Good Wine (go check her IG account out and give her some ❤❤) who many times been here and knows Steenberg’s wines like the back of her hand. She knew exactly what wines we should taste and explore.
As we walk in the tasting room area – I am awestruck by the beauty of the Steenbergs tasting room. My brain lit up like a ping ball machine, trying to take everything in. Not long afterwards we are introduced to our host for the day. Guys, meet Zelda. If you ever do a winetasting at Steenberg make sure Zelda is your host. She is passionate, knows her wine and the stories that goes with each of them. She had us hanging on her words, leaving us wanting more.
What is really cool is that Steenberg Wine Estate offers wine lovers a selection of wine tasting experiences, with a Wine Tasting Bar, Tasting Lounge and Outdoor Terrace to choose from. Just think infinity pools and reflective water features set before some of the most remarkable scenery in Cape Town. Here you can just totally un(wine), relax and appreciate the natural beauty and architecture that utterly surrounds you.
Let’s jump straight in the wines we tasted for the day! Our tasting was uhmm clears throat… how can I say quite extensive, but my good friend Cape of Good Wine knew exactly which wines Zelda was to share with us . And a though it was quite an “extensive research study”, for someone who hasn’t had Steenbergs wine before, it was sure a lovely catching up session!
The Name Behind Lady R
But before I go into detail of the wine we tasted there is something you need to know. You need to know a little Steenberg’s history and most importantly you need to know who Catharina Ras is, as a number of Steenberg’s wine is in her tribute, including their Cap Classique Lady R.
You see Catharina Ras is a seriously bad ass woman, especially for the time period she lived in. This 22 year old widow boarded a ship, disguised as a man and arrived 10 years after Jan van Riebeeck. So you can only imagine the Cape was certainly not a land of milk and honey and certainly not a place for a young widow, it was pretty much like the Wild Wild West but in Africa!
Catharina was an ambitious young lady who wasn’t going to feel sorry for herself. She soon found herself a husband – Hans Ras, who was a Free Burger and Soldier. A few years later, sadly he was killed by a lion. It is crazy to think that lions roamed the Southern Suburbs like Newlands/Rondebosch area. Anyway… like I mentioned, Catharina was pretty bad ass, because as legend has it, Catharina then immediately grabbed a gun, saddled her horse and gave chase, hunting down and killing that very lion; the same day.
When it comes to husbands… Well Catharina seems to have had only bad luck. She married two more times and sadly both of her husbands did not fair off so well. Husband #3 murdered by a tribesman. Hubby #4 trampled to death by an elephant while hunting hippos at Zeekoeivlei.
She then married hubby # 5 where they farmed together. We don’t know what exactly happened to him but we do know according to history records she was later being referred to as Widow Ras.
Anyway – she was big buddies with Simon van der Stel and long story short she managed to get a title deed of 21 hectares of land below the “Stone Mountain” (Steenberg today) which she had to (terms and conditions of her lease) farm and produce fresh produce for the “refreshment station”. Catharina had named the property Swaaneweide – the feeding place of swans. Steenberg says: “Catharina, perhaps overcome by nostalgia for the swans of her native Lübeck Germany, mistook the area’s spur-winged geese for swans. These geese still roam freely on the estate, harking back to Catharina’s day.”
Catharina was known for her strong independence throughout the Cape! This is a woman who decided to go out and make history instead of sitting on ash heap and feeling sorry for herself. She was totally bad ass and 350 years later she is still shining her light and remembered in the name of the estates restaurant.
So there we go a little awesome history lesson. Not to bore you much further shall we jump into some of our favourite Steenberg Wines
A Wine Tasting Extravaganza at Steenberg
Steenberg is the oldest registered farm in the Cape and it here where the vineyards produces a range of much-loved wines through a process of environmentally considerate and dedicated winemaking. From vine to bottle, Steenberg wines are primed to produce an experience which evokes the unique terroir of the estate.
You have 3 different wine tasting experiences to choosee from:
- The Bubbly Tasting
- The Classic Tasting
- The Flagship Tasting
We kind of did a combination of all three!
The Sparkling Range
An arrange of Sparkling Wines, to suite the perfect accompaniment to any occasion. My favourite from the range was the Steenberg Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc.
I nogals enjoyed this one and if you are someone who is looking for something on the fun and “lighter” side of bubbles then you will enjoy this one!. It is playful, fruity and fresh. Perfect for brunch at the poolside in summer. The nose smells of summer with granadilla, summer melons and a hint of lime. The palate is light and smooth yet with a zippy acidity to lift the tropical flavours of pineapple, pear and guava. A fresh brightness rounds off a delicious and refreshing sparkling wine.
We also tasted the Lady R; now I am not a Cap Classique Fan. Yes, yes…. I know! Love bubbles, but Cap Classique for me is just too dry?? I don’t know… how to put it. Look I’ll drink it but not something I would sommer buy. Having said all this – in a very weird way I enjoyed this Cap Classique. It is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir / 30% Chardonnay. This wine is aromatic with hints of red apple skin, desiccated coconut, raspberry pie, almond paste, citrus biscuits and savoury dried herbs.
The creaminess on the palate is complemented by the subtle and refreshing acidity of the wine. There’s a salinity that carries through on the palate alongside restrained pear and cinnamon spiciness. Lady R’s effervescence shows finesse with elegantly fine bubbles that contribute to the overall texture of the wine. It is seriously structured and shows elegance and beautiful ageing ability.
The Fleet Range
It is a lifestyle range of wines which pays homage to the Battle of Muizenberg which took place in 1795.
My favourite from the range was the Sphynx (named after one of the battle ships). This Chardonnay comes from the Robertson region which has these gorgeous intense aromas of limestone and orange blossom, butterscotch and crème brûlée on the nose. Subtle vanilla oak spice is carried through from the nose to the palate where it meets flavours of pear and dried apple. It is complemented by a silky, elegant structure and creamy texture, which in turn is tempered by a clean acidity and chalky minerality.
The Estate Range
These wines – crafted with elegance in mind. This you can clearly taste and enjoy in the wine. I mean do we really have to stay more when I say the words Steenberg Rattlesnake? I mean a Sauvignon Blanc that is so complex showing off its unique terroir. White blossom, elderflower, fresh asparagus and cape gooseberry marry on both the nose and palate. Acidity and spice form the backbone, dominating on the palate, while a creamy texture rounds out the overall mouthfeel. The palate shows capsicum, nasturtium and lime. A lingering mineral finish completes the experience. This makes me just want to enjoy this gorgeous beauty with some delicious seafood! The Rattlesnake was definitely a highlight from this tasting fleet.
The Flagship Range
I have to admit that I loved all the wines that was presented in the Flagship range! This is my kinda style wine. Yes absolutely sublime, this range is without question one for your wine collectors.
The Black Swan
Firstly the Black Swan (another Sauvignon Blanc, but extremely true to the Steenberg terrior) and R240 a pop, you know it is going to be something spectacular. I mean those notes of blackcurrant, gunflint, elderflower and fynbos on the nose, while the palate supports the aromas with naartjie marmalade, lemon zest, summer melon, yellow apple and fresh fig leaves. A mouth-watering acidity accompanies the full, medium-weighted palate, achieved with extended lees contact in tank. Honestly I have been going off Sauvignon Blanc lately, but WOW Steenbergs Sauvignon Blanc makes me want to enjoy this wild child once again.
The Steenberg Semillon
Not everyday you will find a Semillon on its own. I am a huge Semillon lover. Steenberg once again totally out did themselves. You know the first sip you take from this Semillon… you get instant pow of buchu. And I love Buchu. You also get to pick up on some lime, capsicum and apricot pith on the nose. Quince, citrus and roasted almond complete the sensation on the palate. Poised fruit concentrates the mid-palate, after which the wine broadens out with a rich, almost waxy texture and bright acidity. A citrus and floral spice lingers on the palate long after the last drop. This Semillon will continue to evolve in complexity and richness with age. This was my highlight of the day and my favourite wine from Steenberg. Price: R230 a bottle but totally worth it 🙂
The Steenberg Nebbiolo
I am a complete sucker and go completely gaga over an Italian Cultivar. So when I saw that Steenberg makes a Nebbiolo I just had to give it a taste!!
Aaah yes a beautiful ruby red colour with a typical clear yet bright hue. The bouquet displays primary notes of fresh strawberry coulis, dried cranberry along with some truffle, leather and red cherry. The wine displays the natural tart acidity and grippy tannins of Nebbiolo on the palate, although with a well-rounded and fuller mouth-feel and yes your typical flavours of sour cherry, raspberry and tobacco leaf linger to give the wine brilliant length and persistence. Just absolutely “deliciousnessness”!
The Steenberg Catharina Red Blend
A “bordeaux” styled wine comprising of Merlot 79%; Petit Verdot 12%; Malbec 5%; Cabernet Sauvignon 4%. What got my attention of this wine is the little amount of Cabernet Sauvignon used in the blend. Also love the little extra Petit Verdot used, normally winemakers use 5% and less.
The Catharina is a bold wine but yet elegant and alluring, pretty much like Catharina herself. Due to the big percentage of Merlot, it makes the wine light and lends to a refreshing finish. You get cherry and cigar, coffee and vanilla, cranberry compote and dark chocolate. Layers of concentrated red and black fruit (raspberry, blackcurrant and black cherry) show on both the nose and the palate. The addition of Petit Verdot gives the wine a velvety texture . Adding just a little Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon helps to round out the blend, adding structure and depth to this beautiful wine. Dark fruit and spice, lifting acidity and an encompassing tannic finish create the optimal pairing for most red meat or rich sauce dishes.
Steenberg Constantia Natural Sweet
The last wine I will talk about today is the Steenberg Constantia Natural Sweet. This one is for the dessert wine lovers. Do you enjoy a good dessert wine? I do! 😀
This dessert wine made from Semillon grapes, harvested towards the beginning of March. Spending 9 months in a combination of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fill 500L oak barrels, it creates a beautiful golden colour. Citrus and pear, sugar snap peas, vanilla pod, zesty tangerine and ripe apricot all immediately comes to mind upon taking a wiff and a sniff. Lemon-infused honey flavours and white grapefruit complete comes through immediately when taking a sip. Firm fruit concentrates the mid-palate, after which the wine broadens out with a rich, almost waxy texture and bright acidity. A citrus and vanilla spice lingers on the palate long after the last drop.
I only covered the tip of the iceberg on what wines Steenberg has to offer. My suggestion is to go and experience their wines yourself. Steenberg has such a wonderful variety of wine, I promise you will find something you will enjoy.
After all that wine tasting, it was time to fill the tummy with some amazing delicious mouthwatering goodness!
This bistro opened up in 2009 and is named after the year that Steenberg was founded. With executive Chef, Kerry Kilpin at the helm with a little innovation and inter-activeness, Bistro Sixteen82 is one of the ultimate wine and food destination within the Cape Winelands.
Just imagine yourself with a glass of your favourite Steenberg wine, enjoying tasty tapas or a bistro style lunch completely surrounded by an indigenous garden, reflective water features, and views of the magnificent stone mountains and expansive winelands? You could not ask for a more tranquil and idealistic setting!
What I love the most is that Chef Kerry uses only seasonal produce and she does it in such a wonderful way that it only showcases only the finest locally sourced ingredients within the Constantia valley.
Indeed when we finally got around to taste and enjoy a light lunch along with dessert – my taste buds went into complete overdrive of a flavour sensation explosion. Everything working in harmony: sweetness, sourness, saltiness. It is like a party in your mouth. One that you have to experience yourself!
Then of course a lovely stroll around the estate to work off some additional weight and to enjoy those incredible views.
Although Steenberg is one of the oldest if not one of the first farms in South Africa, they are anything but old and vieux jeu. Only 30 minutes from Cape Town, why not come and enjoy the day with Steenberg? Not only can you enjoy fantastic wine and great food but you can treat your self at the Spa and hey stay the night in one of 24 Steenbergs Luxury hotel rooms all bursting with gorgeous views and a discreet personalised service.
Disclaimer – I was hosted by Steenberg to come and experience their food and wine. The thoughts and opinions are my own thoughts and expression. Tasting notes and history provided by Steenberg. Images belongs to My Boozy Kitchen.