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Steenberg Semillon 2011

The power of one.

Some grapes are destined to work better in blends than on their own. With respect to Argentina, who really wants to drink single-variety Malbec? Petit Verdot unaccompanied is always overbearing for me while Mourvèdre alone is just unnecessarily hard work.

When it comes to white varieties, Semillon increasingly strikes me as working better when combined with Sauvignon Blanc than solo, Australia’s Hunter Valley notwithstanding.   That said, the Semillon 2011 from Steenberg in Constantia (R190 from the tasting room) is a tidy effort.

Fermented and matured for eight months in large-format French oak barrels, 50% new, the wine is rich and full. I got notes of vanilla, thatch and peach but it’s really more about how it feels in the mouth, being relatively thick-textured with the 7.1g/l total acidity appearing amazingly well coated. Satisfying and more-ish, I scored it 16.5/20.


  1. All I can say is the 2001 Vergelegen Semillon. It was a Great wine. So good I couldn’t even try score it. (tasted December 2011). 

  2. Ja, the Steenberg is still a baby and won’t show its best for many years. Whenever I think of a 1999 I had (probably five or so years ago), at least seven of my toes curl involuntarily.


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