Steenberg Five Lives Red Blend chronicles life of Catharina Ras

Grilled sirloin with marrow butter and Five Lives jus
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STEENBERG Vineyards has released an exciting new Bordeaux-style red blend in recognition of the life-long resilience and courage of their pioneering 17th century founder, Catharina Ras, and we celebrated with a fabulous lunch at Tryn last week.

It’s called Five Lives Red Blend, which kind of makes you think it contains all the Bordeaux varieties but it is in fact a silky fusion of just Merlot (76%) and Cab Sav (24%). The “five” refers to the chapters of Catharina’s life, echoed with the five courses served by executive chef Kerry Kilpin, as well as five different back labels on the wine so you can collect them all.

We began, as one always should, with MCC, the Steenberg Lady R Cap Classique 2016, while we surveyed the other guests, mingling with old friends and meeting new ones. A canapé of tuna and samphire tartare was served, with ginger, nori crunch, sesame and soy vinaigrette, and red pearls.

Gorgonzola soufflé

From there we moved to a private dining room where we were introduced to Five Lives, both in the glass and by cellar master Elunda Basson. Covid was a time of reflection for the team, and they decided to review their range wines, she said, and shape it in such a way that they secure sustainability for Steenberg and the brand.

“During this process we came to the conclusion that it’s really our sense of place, this place, these vineyards, these incredible blocks, and our terroir, which have inspired us – and will continue to inspire us into the future.”

Heavily influenced by cool ocean breezes from False Bay, Steenberg is all about celebrating the very best of what this land can provide. “With this in mind, the idea of the Steenberg range of Classic wines was conceptualised. The range is intended to be the best representation of what we have to offer. It’s the true identity of who we are,” said Elunda.

The existing range contains Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, but during the “intensive audit”, the opportunity to create a Bordeaux-style red blend was identified. Hence, the Five Lives Red Blend, which Elunda describes as deliciously opulent. “It expresses, I think, beautiful intense dark colour; the nose displays a bit of blackcurrant cassis, something earthy, some basil, some plum, tobacco, spice, cherry, and a beautiful hint of cinnamon. If we look at the blend composition, the Merlot adds the bright fruit, and the Cab really finishes off the mouth feel, the intensity, the length and the layers on the finish.”

Dishes paired with the wine were impala carpaccio with baby beets, pickled radishes and parmesan; gorgonzola soufflé with Boerenkaas Catalan and red onion marmalade (no one took me seriously when I asked for seconds, I do not understand); and grilled sirloin with bone marrow butter and Five Lives jus. For dessert, we ended as we had begun, with another MCC: Steenberg 1682 Pinot Noir Cape Classique. It accompanied plum crumble, with white chocolate cremeaux and basil ice cream.

“Steenberg Five Lives Red Blend is a medium-bodied, lush and structured wine with a smooth, velvety texture and great length. Expect notes of blackcurrant cassis, basil and plum underpinned by an earthy character so typical of Steenberg’s distinctive terroir. Merlot forms the backbone of this wine with clean, bright fruit adding subtle freshness, while Cabernet Sauvignon lends structure. The wine is showing beautifully now and will cellar well for up to 5 years.”

Taste and buy Steenberg Five Lives Red Blend 2019 at the Steenberg Tasting Room at a cellar door price of R175. For online purchases of this new addition to the Steenberg Classic range, click here, or look out for it at a leading store near you.

PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN ©

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