Steenberg launches second vintage of its iconic Magna Carta

Date posted:
March 3, 2011

Nog ‘n wynprodusent wat skynbaar glo daar’s nie ‘n Afrikaanse media of Afrikaanse wyndrinkers in Suid-Afrika nie, is Steenberg Vineyards. Hier volg ‘n persvrystelling van ‘n nuwe wynbekendstelling … in Engels ondanks die feit dat Planeet Wyn ‘n Afrikaanse weergawe aangevra het!


Steenberg Vineyards in the Constantia Valley has announced the much anticipated release of the second vintage of its iconic white blend, Magna Carta 2009. An expression of the very best of what Steenberg can produce, Magna Carta 2009 follows in the footsteps of its forerunner, the maiden vintage Magna Carta 2007 - both wines having received the coveted John Platter 5-Star rating to establish a 100% track record.


Like the first vintage, Magna Carta 2009 is a blend made up of 60% sauvignon blanc from the 21-year old reserve block and 40% barrel-fermented semillon. Steenberg has always excelled with their Sauvignon Blanc Reserve and Semillon and it followed logically that these two building blocks be used to create “the ultimate white wine” with freshness and huge ageing potential alike.


Featuring enticing aromas of orange blossom and tangerine, supported by a fresh minerality, this multi-layered wine’s balanced structure and firm body will delight with a rich but elegant feel on the palate, coating the mouth and flowing through into a lingering finish that begs to savour. It will complement a variety of elegantly prepared dishes, from seafood to red meat, and can be enjoyed right now or in 15 years’ time!


Sauvignon blanc and semillon grapes are harvested and vinified separately according to their unique style before blending. The sauvignon blanc portion is from a single vineyard of old vines harvested at sugar levels of 23,5°B. An eight to 24 hour soak before pressing extracts beautiful mineral and green tones from the sauvignon blanc, while time on the lees post fermentation develops some fullness on the palate. The semillon grapes are left to hang on the vine as long as possible to achieve the full ripeness that gives the wine its distinctive dry apricot and tangerine character. Sugar levels lie between 22 – 23 °B. The clean juice was fermented in 225 liter new French oak barrels, after which the wine was left in barrel for a further 3 weeks – a total of about 5 weeks from start of fermentation to removal from barrel. The resulting semillon is richly fruity with smoky overtones and a creamy palate. 


According to General Manager and Cellar Master at Steenberg Vineyards, John Loubser, 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.


Says Loubser: “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 limited vintage of only 3000 bottles of Magna Carta is on sale at R440 exclusively at the cellar, as well as the two restaurants on the estate, Bistro Sixteen82 and Catharina’s.


Steenberg Vineyards was recently voted Global Winner Wine Tourism Services in the Great Wine Capitals’ Best of Wine Tourism Awards for 2011.



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