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The wines of Steenberg, Constantia  

PO Box 10801, Steenberg Estate, 7945, South Africa
Tel: +27 21 713 2211 Fax: +27 21 713 2201
E-mail: info@steenberg.co.za 

Steenberg stands alone a short drive from the other four Constantia estates, in neighbouring Tokai. It has only a relatively recent history of wine grape growing: the 205 ha estate was purchased in 1990 by a large mining company who have renovated and developed it into a wine estate with luxury accommodation and a golf course. And, of course, six foot perimeter fencing with electrification. It's clearly an ambitious place, making a wide range of wines of uniformly high quality from the 68 ha of vines that have been planted here. The whites are slightly stronger than the reds, in my opinion. Although I visited the estate and its restaurant (beautiful setting, very good food, expensive by South African standards, and professional but rather self-conscious service) I didn't taste here: the notes below are from the London Wine Trade Fair in May 2003, and a Waitrose (UK retailer) press tasting in April 2003. 

You can also read a more recent report based on a visit from March 2011 here.

Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2002 Constantia
Striking, intensely grassy crisp nose which is nettly and a bit herbaceous. The palate is crisp and concentrated, with lively grassy flavours. A touch of greenness, but very nice. Very good+ 87 (8.99 Waitrose)

Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2003 Constantia
Quite a crisp grassy nose with vivid fruit. Good concentration of crisp fruit on the palate: delicious, ripe and yet still quite delicate. Very good/excellent 90

Steenberg Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2003 Constantia
Taut minerally nose is crisp and fresh with a lovely concentration of ripe fruit on the palate. Good intensity and minerality here, verging on a rich style. Very good/excellent 92

Steenberg Semillon 2002 Constantia
Lovely crisp, grassy lemony fruit combining well with subtle toasty oak. The palate is concentrated and well balanced with the oak providing a nice foil for the toasty fruit. Very good+ 89 (7.99 Waitrose) 

Steenberg Semillon 2003 Constantia
In barrel for three months this has just come out. Lovely racy, forward nose showing classy, toasty, nutty, bready oak notes. Very fresh and lemony. The palate is rich, full and gently herby, with well integrated nutty oak. Delicious. Very good/excellent 90

Steenberg Merlot 2001 Constantia
Very ripe, almost sweet berry fruit nose with a seductive chocolatey richness. The palate is rich and chewy with lots of pure chocolatey fruit and a slight minerally, chalky edge. Forward and rich. Very good+ 89 (9.99 Waitrose - I scored it 87 at their press tasting with consistent notes)

Steenberg Catharina 2000 Constantia
A blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz that spends 18 months in new French oak. Sweet chocolatey, spicy nose is quite ambitious. The palate shows a good concentration of spicy, herby berry and black fruits with a tarry, spicy structure. Quite full, with potential. Very good+ 88

Steenberg Nebbiolo 2001 Constantia
The fifth vintage of this wine made from the Italian grape famous for its role in Barolo and Barbaresco. Quite pale in colour. Shy nose, but the palate shows some appealing herb-tinged spicy savoury fruit, with quite firm tannins. Nice structure: not showy, but tasty and savoury. Very good+ 89

Steenberg Shiraz 2001 Constantia
Distinctive meaty, green olive nose, which is herby, rich and spicy. The palate is firm, savoury and shows a nice meaty, green olive edge to the fruit. Good acidity. A distinctive style which may be off-putting for some, but I like it. Very good/excellent 90

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