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Steenberg Semillon 2007 vs. Steenberg Magna Carta 2007

Variations on a theme.

Yesterday a taste-off between Steenberg Semillon 2007 and Steenberg Magna Carta 2007, the former having won Ruth Penfold (no longer with the winery) the title of Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year and the latter rated 5 Stars in the 2008 edition of Platter’s.

The straight Semillon (fermented and matured for five weeks in barrel and including 10% Sauvignon according to Platter’s) was rich and broad and notably more advanced. Smooth textured, there were notes of tangerine and vanilla upfront before a little pyrazine pepperiness on the finish. Score: 16/20.

The Magna Carta 2007 was the maiden vintage of Steenberg’s effort at a high-end Bordeaux-style white blend, the components being 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% barrel fermented and matured Semillon. This particular bottle was one of the better ones I’ve had recently. Bright yellow with a green tinge in colour, it showed the benefits of bottle maturation, no longer as overtly expressive as it used to be but entirely seamless – stately rather than spectacular. Score: 17/20.


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