Just a hop, skip and a jump from the little place I call home, lies the centuries-old farm of Steenberg Wine Estate. Set in one of the most beautiful corners of Cape Town, Steenberg reaps the benefits of being surrounded by mountains, vineyards and the ocean. I recently visited the farm for a wine tasting and here’s the spoiler alert – it was as phenomenal as the landscape it calls home.
A visit to Steenberg Farm always makes me happy. The understated, smooth grey-toned tasting room always speaks right to the core of my soul, and as you step outside onto the patio, you can’t help but hold your breath at the beauty of it all.
The Tall Hedonist and I were invited to experience their classic wine tasting, and who are we to say no? We headed over mid-afternoon on a Saturday on what I could surely only describe as a perfect Cape Town autumn day.
From the moment you walk into the tasting room, you feel welcome and at home. The large, oval 360-degree bar is ever so inviting as it sits perched under the most magnificent glass art installment, reminiscent of red and green grapes hanging from a vine.
As you peek outside, you are met with a sunny patio with casual furniture in neutral colours, overlooking calm bodies of water and then, as your eye drifts further, fynbos, vineyards, mountains, clouds, sky. We first took a seat outside between groups of people enjoying the last bit of sunshine, but soon we found the light too bright to take photos and we took up two seats at the bar instead.
From the bar, you can watch the team hustling in perfect synchronicity to prepare the tastings, pour glasses, open bottles and ring up sales. They worked like a well-oiled machine, but never too busy for a broad smile or a quick chat.
The classic tasting consists costs R90 per person and includes a taster of the Steenberg 1682 Chardonnay MCC, followed by your choice of four wines from either their Fleet or Estate ranges. Tim and I carefully worked out who will taste which wines, as we have quite different preferences when it comes to wine. Spoiler alert: we were treated to a few more tastings than expected!
Here are a few of our favourites of the day:
Any experience that starts with an elegant MCC, is bound to be a good one. The Steenberg 1682 Chardonnay MCC is no exception and held promises of a lovely afternoon. This fresh, lively and delicate MCC is pure pleasure on the nose with hints of green apple and stone fruit and something exquisitely floral in the wings before it deepens with reminders of honey and nuts on the palate.
Because Tim’s a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, and I’m still searching for the perfect one, we opted fo the Steenberg Rattlesnake Sauvignon Blanc 2018 from the Estate Range. What a beauty. Strong, bold and incredibly flavourful, this wine has loads of potential to age another five years or so. At first you are met with a gorgeous fruity acidity, which slowly mellows into a creamy full-mouth experience as it settles on the palate. Simply stunning.
Another great find was Steenberg’s interpretation of a varietal I’m incredibly fond of: Steenberg Sphynx Chardonnay 2018 from the Fleet Range. Complex! So incredibly beautiful in all it’s complexity. This one is a journey for the taste-buds. Ripe stone fruit at first sip, and then a smorgasbord of experiences – a bit of acidity, hints of oakiness, and a gorgeous minerality. Again, great ageing potential, if you can wait a few more years!
To refresh our palates, we hopped over to their Ruby Rosé 2018 from the Fleet Range. If you know anything about me, you know that I love a dry Rosé. I bought quite a few bottles of this one to take home for easy drinking with dinner! It’s light and juicy with a lovely colour, and is jam-packed with lush berries and just a hint of spice.
Tim was offered a tasting of the 2017 Semillon, whilst I swooned over the Rosé. Usually a small percentage as part of a white blend, this single variety Semillon left us very intriqued and incredibly excited. This one is part of the Flagship Range, though. This wine is intricately textured and layered with flavours of vanilla, citrus and stonefruit, before it warms up into melted honey and lemon hints. The balance between the lively acidity and concentrated warm fruit flavours is just perfect. Just gorgeous.
We ended off our afternoon of tasting with a couple of reds, but the two that stood out to us most was the Steenberg Syrah 2016 and their Merlot 2016, both from the Estate Range. The most perfect winter wines, these are juicy enough to drink as inter-seasonal wines, but bold enough to hold their own against stronger food flavours. I found the soft tannins and all-spice nose of the Syrah incredibly inviting, coupled with the deep plum colour and silky mouth-feel – this is my type of red.
The Merlot had a herby hint to it, complimented with dark berry flavours and just a suggestion of chocolate and spice. Fuller bodied than the Syrah, this is your comfort food wine that begs to be enjoyed with grilled flavours, mature cheese and deep tomato infusions.
Steenberg deserves more than just a couple of hours. The venue alone begs you to stay a bit longer and breathe in the fresh mountain air, whilst you recover from the bustle of city life. Their wines are suberb, and if you are a keen wine-drinker, this is a must for your bucket-list. Great staff, lovely atmosphere and best of all, a perfect spot for wine and lunch, Steenberg is a mere 30 minutes from the city centre. It’s great for celebrations, quiet catch-ups, family gatherings or a loved-up date with your SO.
As we walked to the car, watching the sun sink lower over the vineyards, we already made plans for our return. Because too much of a good thing is never bad, right?
Second photographer and photo credit: Timothy P. Gibson
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.