This week we review a sensational wine, the Steenberg Magna Carta 2009. A hand crafted white wine that will only be made in a vintage when Steenberg’s General Manager and cellarmaster, John Laubser, is completely satisfied that the grapes for the blend are of exceptional quality. The 2009 is the second Magna Carta vintage to be made after the first produced in 2007. Both the 2007 and the 2009 were awarded the prestigious five star ratings in the John Platter wine guide.
John reflects that this ‘crown prince’ among the Steenberg range is their ‘great declaration of quality and elegance’. He affirms that their commitment was sorely tested in 2008, a harvest year which simply didn’t produce the quality of grapes needed for a wine of this standard. In keeping with the winery’s vow never to compromise on quality, a decision was therefore made not to release the wine as Magna Carta last year.
John continues: ‘Magna Carta is our quality benchmark and sets the precedent for the standard of wine we produce here. The 2007 vintage is still very much in its ‘baby shoes’ and busy developing, having not yet peaked – confirming the longevity that this superb wine is built on. We are therefore very proud to release the second vintage of this white wine, which we believe lives up to its name. Magna Carta is Latin for ‘Great Charter’, and refers to an important, ancient legal document – the first ever to be above kings.’
The grapes that make up the blend for the Magna Carta, are 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon, and both are vinified separately. The Sauvignon Blanc is picked from a portion of a magnificent single vineyard of older vines. Prior to pressing the grapes they are left to soak up to 24 hours which brings out the mineraly green tones characteristic of the grape. After fermentation the juice spends time on the lees which extracts the rich fullness found on the palate. The Semillon grapes are picked only once they are fully ripe which results in the distinctive dry apricot and tangerine character. The juice is fermented in new French oak barrels after which it is left on the lees for about 3 weeks giving the Semillon its rich, fruity and creamy taste.
The Magna Carta 2009 offers attractive aromas of tropical fruit with hints of dried apricot and wafts of fresh orange zest. The rich and creamy palate is layered with tangy fruit supported by fragrant, yet delicate balance of oak on the extended mineraly finish. Delicious to enjoy now, especially with richer seafood or red meat dishes (on the evening of the launch the wine was successfully paired with Seared Scallops, Crayfish, Langoustines, Crab Beignet, Lemon Gelee & Shellfish Foam prepared by Steenbergs 1682 Restaurant Chef ,Brad Ball).
The quantity produced of this wine is limited and so for those of you who take wine collecting seriously I highly recommend a few bottles for your cellar….it has the ability to mature for at least another 10 years!
Buy online now at R460.00