top of page
  • Writer's pictureErica Taylor

Five South African Wines for Valentine’s Day… and one for the anti-Valentine?

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching; here are some South African wines that speak to the different stages of love… and perhaps one for the anti-Valentine?

  • For the couple recently engaged

De Grendel “Proposal Hill” MCC

The Proposal Hill Cap Classique Brut Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir grown on the western slope of the Tygerberg hill on De Grendel, overlooked by the original homestead built by the first baronet Graaff. The vines enjoy the same view that Sir De Villiers and Lady Graaff treasured all those years ago.

  • For the couple celebrating new beginnings

Highgate "Tomcat" Pinotage

Upon opening the new cellar, the owner was delighted to hear that his daughter, Cathryn, and her partner, Tom, would join the team. The winemaker then created this unique Pinotage to celebrate their love for wine and each other.

  • For couples welcoming children

Matthew Krone MCC’s named after his children.

An exclusive limited-release range of MCC's are named after the winemakers’ two daughters (Alexandra & Amelia) that are released under "The Love Story Collection.''

  • For the couple with a vintage love

Bellingham Founder’s Series “The Quintessential Couple”

This alluring rosé takes its inspiration from Bernard and Fredagh Podlashuk, founders of Bellingham and a formidable pair in every sense. Theirs was a romance for the ages, so it only fits that a wine made in their honour should come from some of the most beautiful old vineyards in the Cape, with an equally intriguing story to tell. Typical ripe red fruit from the Pinotage abound on the nose, with well-defined strawberry, raspberry, and cherry notes persisting on the palate. Bright acidity balances the sweet fruit, with a hint of spice from the Shiraz adding another interesting layer to this pleasantly dry Rosé. The ideal match for fruit-laden summer salads, sushi, and light curry dishes.

And finally…

  • For the anti-Valentine…

Steenberg’s Catharina Red Blend

The Catharina Red Blend is named after, The life of Catharina Ras, Steenberg’s remarkable founder. Her was one of adventure and zeal and can be imagined as a tale of FIVE chapters, with each chapter offering Catharina a series of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

TLDR: Her five husbands died under suspicious circumstances…

The Full Story

Catharina is certainly one of the most daring and controversial figures ever to settle in the Cape. Life was not easy when she arrived, only ten years after Jan van Riebeeck landed, for 1662 was far from being the age of rights for women. Despite seemingly insurmountable challenges, this indomitable lady boarded a sailing ship and made the perilous journey to the furthest tip of Africa.

Upon her arrival, she found that the Cape was no land of milk and honey. It was a fierce, wild place with rulings to match. This being no place for a lone widow of twenty-two, Catharina immediately found herself a husband, Hans Ras. He was not a particularly eligible catch (he was a soldier and free burger), but he had a house on the Liesbeek River, which he had bought from Jakob Kluten, founder of the famous Cloete family whose name has dominated Constantia for more than two hundred years.

Once the wedding knot was tied, Catharina’s life took on dramatic overtones, which marked its course from that day forward. Two wagons left the ceremony, with the bride and groom in one and the guests in the other. Lit from within by good Cape wine and overcome, no doubt, by the spirit of the occasion, the drivers decided to race one another back to Rondebosch. While the guests clung fearfully to their seats, praying to heaven with truly Protestant fervour, the wagons vied for position and as the road was rough and narrow, a collision soon occurred.

Enraged at this conduct on his wedding day, the bridegroom jumped down from his seat and soon became entangled in a fight, receiving a knife thrust, which almost proved fatal – the weapon breaking in two between his ribs.

He survived this incident and lived to father several children, but came to an unfortunate end when he was killed by a lion some years later. Legend has it that Catharina grabbed a gun, leapt upon her horse and gave chase, hunting down and shooting the offending lion the very same day.

Fate had a good deal more in store for the girl from Lübeck however, for a Tribesman murdered her next husband and his successor was trampled by an elephant. Seemingly no less endowed with energy than Henry VIII, who surprised all Europe with his impressive total of six wives, Catharina then took unto herself a fifth husband, a hardy German named Matthys Michelse.

In 1682 Catharina Michelse, also known as The Widow Ras, asked Simon van der Stel for a portion of ground at the foot of the Ou Kaapse Weg and he agreed to lease 25 Morgen to her. After he became the owner of Groot Constantia in 1685, she asked him for a legal title deed and a mandate was granted to her in 1688 to “cultivate, to plough and to sow and also to possess the farm below the Stone Mountain.”

This is how what we now know as Steenberg came into the possession of our famed founder.

The farm’s original name was ‘Swaaneweide’ – The Feeding Place of Swans. Catharina, perhaps overcome by nostalgia for the swans of her native Lübeck Germany, mistook the area’s spur-winged geese for swans. These geese still roam freely on the estate, harking back to Catharina’s day.

Do you have any favorite South African wines with a love story behind them?

29 views0 comments
bottom of page