Tryn showing its colours alongside the Catharina 2017

Launching the Steenberg Catharina 2017 at a lunch at Tryn was a treat to attend, especially as there have been so few events during this mad year of Covid. We were taken through a tasting of a few of the older vintages by Elunda Basson, stretching all the way back to 1997!  Which surprisingly was totally fresh and delicious still and developed warm mocha aromas after a while in the glass.

The Catharina Red has always been made from the best red grapes from the farm but perhaps not had a very consistent approach to the varieties included.  Elunda Basson (winemaker/cellarmaster) is of the opinion that they will stick to classic Bordeaux Blends in future and find the golden thread to continue through the vintages in future. 
It was lovely to connect with her, as she has been at Steenberg for over a year already after spending many years at the helm of wine-making at Pongracz and JC le Roux.

Over the last 2 decades, the previous winemakers at Steenberg have changed the recipe of the Catharina Red here and there.  Nicky Versfeldt, John Loubscher and JD Pretorius all are strong characters and each wine has its own character and identity.

Tryn is the new(ish) restaurant at Steenberg near the Spa which replaced Catharina's. Chef Kerry Kilpin presented us with a most delicious and eye-catching lunch. The starter of Salt and Pepper Calamari with the Black Swan Sauvignon Blanc was fresh and crisp.. really scrumptious.  This was followed by tender beef fillet paired with the 2017 Catharina - a great match of flavours.  A very balanced, and flavourful lunch accompanied by interesting company as we also celebrated writer Graham Howe's birthday. How sweet that the chef made him a special dessert plate with a birthday message!

Constantia is much better known for its steely white wines, and so we look forward to seeing what Elunda and her team will bring to the future of the Catharina Red, named after the formidable Catharina Ras - the original owner of Steenberg (est 1682). She survived 5 husbands, and apparently came over to South Africa as a widow from Lubek in Germany, aged 22, daringly stowing away and dressed as a man, arriving in the Cape just 10 years after Jan van Riebeeck.  She then became the first female land-owner in the Cape. later acquired by the late Graham Beck in 2005.

Do yourself a favour, the farm is looking simply gorgeous and both Tryn and their popular Bistro and tasting room are well worth a visit.  I noticed they have a tapas and bubbly offering for 2 for R350, which sounds well worth it!