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Mullineux Syrah 2016

Mullineux Syrah 2016

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"The 2016 Syrah is 100% whole-bunch fruit, and I think this gives it the edge over the 2015. It has a very fresh, focused nose with more edginess than the previous vintage, offering touches of peppermint and dried herbs. The palate is very well balanced with fine tannin - quite a "cool customer," presenting a longer, more precise finish than the 2015. Excellent. Drink: 2020-2035. 92 points

I have followed Chris and Andrea Mullineux right from the beginning. They used to send me samples of their wine when they worked at Fable Mountain Vineyards up in Tulbagh, after the couple met doing a harvest in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Their small “empire” continues to grow. Since they gained the backing of Indian entrepreneur Analjit Singh, it has been full steam ahead in terms of expanding into Franschhoek and constructing a new winery, that they call home, at the Roundstone. That came with a name change, now “Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines” to reflect their two areas of interest. “The 2017 growing season was not as intense in terms of temperature fluctuation as 2016, so, although yields were down, there was less stress in the vineyard,” Andrea tells me. “There was not so much wilting. The vines stayed green and upright, they were more naturally in balance and where you see [the effect of] stress is where there are differences in sugar level, higher in 2017. This means that we had longer fermentations in 2017 and the wines are the driest than we have ever seen.” The effects of stress put pay to one of their label. There is no Schist Syrah due to drought, for Andrea found the wine too heavy. This is a very consistent set of recent releases from the Mullineux’s and it is always fascinating to compare the variety of soil types and their influence on Syrah or Chenin Blanc. Their entry-level “Kloof Street” range is always a perfect entry-point to those who would like to dabble in Swartland for the first time at a very affordable price. At the other end of the scale, the recently introduced Leeu Passant range, from their new holdings in Franschhoek, is beautifully packaged in their retro styling, again, very consistent. I am only waiting for a bottle to really blow me away. It is just a question of when, not if."

Neal Martin, Vinous (08/18)