Steenberg Vineyards, the oldest farm in the Constantia Valley, has a portfolio of exceptional wines which I enjoy tasting on a frequent basis. A couple of years ago they introduced their intriguing HMS range of wines which certainly added another wonderful dimension to the Steenberg portfolio.
Steenberg's cellarmaster and general manager, John Loubser, explained that the HMS range would comprise of fruit from selected vineyards which may not all be from the Constantia region.
The sourced grapes for the wines showcase the character of the style of wine related to the selected vineyards, soil and climate. The range was initially released with two wines, namely the HMS Rattlesnake Sauvignon Blanc and the HMS Sphynx Chardonnay and later a Bordeaux style red blend was added and named HMS Echo.
The naming of the three wines finds its origin in the fascinating history of the Battle of Muizenberg and refers to three ships in the fleet of 10 from Royal Navy that took part in the first British occupation of the Cape.
HMS Rattlesnake fired her guns in the legendary battle between the British forces and the VOC (De Vereenigde Ost-Indische Compagne) on Sunday, the 7th of August 1795, while HMS Sphynx lay at anchor in Simon's Bay. It also ties in with the history of Steenberg in that much of the action took place around this coastal area and inland, encompassing what is today known as Zandvlei, Retreat, Wynberg and Muizenberg.
Skirmishes took place where the Steenberg vineyards now grow. The HMS Echo, however, was a 100-ton sloop which tested its capabilities by defending the British soldiers in Hout Bay after the Battle of Muizenberg.
Steenberg is well known for its delicious Sauvignon Blancs and now with the addition of the HMS Rattlesnake the range has grown to four: the Klein Steenberg 2012, the Steenberg 2012, the HMS Rattlesnake 2011 and the flagship Steenberg Reserve 2011. Sadly, the latter wine will be discontinued but replaced with an exciting new release in the future.
The HMS Rattlesnake Sauvignon Blanc 2011 was recently awarded a credible five stars in the Classic Wine magazine Sauvignon Blanc Tasting. Produced with fruit sourced off the farm and from other cool climate areas including Darling and Durbanville, the wine offers a rounder, creamier version of Sauvignon Blanc. 25 percent of each vineyard was barrel-fermented and aged for a total of 90 days in 500 litre and 600 litre French oak barrels, while the remaining grapes were fermented in stainless steel, and kept on the lees for 90 days. Hereafter the wine was blended and kept in stainless steel tanks until bottling.
The result is a crisp wine with typical tinned green pea, tropical fruit and herbaceous aromas, which follows easily onto a silky palate with delicious Sauvignon freshness and a lingering aftertaste. Enjoy from now up to two years.
Expect to pay: R96.00
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