South Africa


Showing 1–12 of 18 results

  • Leeu Passant Basson Cinsault 2017

    £47.99

    “The 2017 Old Vines Basson Cinsault is fuller and riper on the nose compared to the Lötter Cinsault, featuring exuberant wild strawberry, raspberry preserve, gingerbread and dill aromas, all very well defined and brimming with energy. The palate is medium-bodied with a fleshy opening, hints of marmalade and orange peel infusing the red fruit, and just the right amount of piquancy toward the finish. There is something “old school” about this Cinsault. Cerebral. Drinking window: 2022-2038. 95 points”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (02/21)

    In Stock

  • Leeu Passant Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

    £33.75

    “The 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch comes from a single vineyard located on the mid-slopes of Helderberg between 200m and 400m, a cool site exposed to breezes from False Bay. It has quite a pungent nose, rather earthy and spicy, more old school Syrah-like than Cabernet. The palate is medium-bodied with fairly firm and dry tannins that frame the black fruit laced with graphite and tobacco. I find this just a little austere on the finish. Drinking window: 2024-2036. 90 points

    The indefatigable Andrea Mullineux guided me through her latest releases at Roundstone, their farm in Swartland. (If you are eager to read notes on back vintages, verticals of their red blends will be published in due course.) Mullineux farms her vines organically, or they are under conversion, including their entry-level Kloof Street in future vintages, though that will not be stated on the label. First, I asked her about the 2021 vintage. “It was a late start of spring,” she tells me. “It was cold but relatively dry until the end of July and August. August and September saw a bit of rain that led to later budding. There was consistent rain between sunny periods in September, so the vines had large canopies that acted as solar panels, therefore everyone had to be careful with canopy management. It was relatively cold up until Christmas. On January 1 we had the first of several heat waves – not long extended ones – more like waves of heat spikes. There were a lot of grapes, but nothing was going through véraison, that ended up three weeks later than normal for earlier ripening varieties like Chenin Blanc and Syrah, whereas later varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay were about on time. You had to make sure you did not miss the right moment to pick whilst keeping in mind not being trigger happy, just because harvest is later, the Syrah by three weeks. This created a concertina affect: all the whites coming in, a short pause and then all the reds. It’s quite a textural vintage with deep colours. On the second day of maceration, there was full colour extraction. The 2020 was a classic vintage with a greater number of warmer days than 2021. There was no picking pressure. We picked the Syrah over 14 days instead of the usual 10 as there was less disease pressure. We had no idea about the lockdown, but we had an amazing team in the winery. There was a natural phenolic ripeness.”

    Tasting through Mullineux Family Wines and their Leeu Passant project in Franschhoek, unsurprisingly, I found a very consistent set of wines that are evolving more individuality. Indeed, I commented to Mullineux that I cannot remember a vintage where there are such distinguishable differences between the Iron, Schist and Granite cuvées. In that respect, the 2020 Schist Syrah is a knockout, one of the finest I have tasted from Mullineux at this stage. Their Kloof Street remains a supremely affordable entry-point for many, whilst their two sweet wines, their straw wine and the third iteration of their solera – Olerasay – are ridiculously good, the latter flirting with perfection.”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (10/22)

    In Stock

  • Leeu Passant Chardonnay 2020

    £53.95

    “The 2020 Chardonnay Stellenbosch comes from a single vineyard in Helderberg just above the Cabernet. This has a wonderful, slightly flinty bouquet with outstanding precision. The palate is very well balanced with a perfect line of acidity, extremely pure, hints of white peach and orange pith, augmented by grapefruit and crushed stone on the finish that’s as nervous as a child with stage fright doing school panto for the first time. Brilliant. Drinking window: 2023-2040. 95 points

    The indefatigable Andrea Mullineux guided me through her latest releases at Roundstone, their farm in Swartland. (If you are eager to read notes on back vintages, verticals of their red blends will be published in due course.) Mullineux farms her vines organically, or they are under conversion, including their entry-level Kloof Street in future vintages, though that will not be stated on the label. First, I asked her about the 2021 vintage. “It was a late start of spring,” she tells me. “It was cold but relatively dry until the end of July and August. August and September saw a bit of rain that led to later budding. There was consistent rain between sunny periods in September, so the vines had large canopies that acted as solar panels, therefore everyone had to be careful with canopy management. It was relatively cold up until Christmas. On January 1 we had the first of several heat waves – not long extended ones – more like waves of heat spikes. There were a lot of grapes, but nothing was going through véraison, that ended up three weeks later than normal for earlier ripening varieties like Chenin Blanc and Syrah, whereas later varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay were about on time. You had to make sure you did not miss the right moment to pick whilst keeping in mind not being trigger happy, just because harvest is later, the Syrah by three weeks. This created a concertina affect: all the whites coming in, a short pause and then all the reds. It’s quite a textural vintage with deep colours. On the second day of maceration, there was full colour extraction. The 2020 was a classic vintage with a greater number of warmer days than 2021. There was no picking pressure. We picked the Syrah over 14 days instead of the usual 10 as there was less disease pressure. We had no idea about the lockdown, but we had an amazing team in the winery. There was a natural phenolic ripeness.”

    Tasting through Mullineux Family Wines and their Leeu Passant project in Franschhoek, unsurprisingly, I found a very consistent set of wines that are evolving more individuality. Indeed, I commented to Mullineux that I cannot remember a vintage where there are such distinguishable differences between the Iron, Schist and Granite cuvées. In that respect, the 2020 Schist Syrah is a knockout, one of the finest I have tasted from Mullineux at this stage. Their Kloof Street remains a supremely affordable entry-point for many, whilst their two sweet wines, their straw wine and the third iteration of their solera – Olerasay – are ridiculously good, the latter flirting with perfection.”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (10/22)

    In Stock

  • Leeu Passant Lotter Cinsault 2018

    £47.99

    “The 2018 Old Vines Lötter Cinsault has a gorgeous bouquet of lifted red cherries, crushed strawberry and a touch of shoe leather, all very well defined and focused. The palate is well balanced with a lightly spiced entry, a fine bead of acidity and a caressing texture. Chinese five-spice and notes of sage appear toward the complex finish. This is an excellent Cinsault from Andrea and Chris Mullineux. Drinking window: 2021-2035. 93 points”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (02/21)

    In Stock

  • Mullineux Granite Syrah 2018

    £73.95

    “The 2018 Syrah Granite was matured for 12 months in French oak plus nine months in second-fill foudre. The well-defined nose features blackberry, raspberry and touches of white pepper, all focused and becoming quite floral with time. The palate is medium-bodied with good grip on the entry and quite compact. Tarry black fruit mingles with sage and black pepper toward quite a stern finish. Fine, but it will require 2–3 years in bottle. Drinking window: 2024-2040. 92 points”

    Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (04/21)

    In Stock

  • Mullineux Iron Syrah 2018

    £73.95

    “The 2018 Syrah Iron has a high-toned nose delivering more blue fruit than the Schist Syrah, and certainly more floral and perhaps Rhône-like in style. The palate is medium-bodied with grippy tannins on the entry and granular in texture. Wonderful tension and mineralité come through on the graphite-tinged finish. This might ultimately be my pick from Mullineux’s Syrahs. Drinking window: 2024-2042. 93 points”

    Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (04/21)

    In Stock

  • Mullineux Old Vines White 2021

    £24.99

    “The 2021 Old Vines White comes from vines up to 70-years old built around Chenin Blanc, 62% in this vintage, barrel fermented in 500-litre barrels and a couple of foudres. This has a lovely bouquet with dried honey, white flowers, honeysuckle and light grilled walnut aromas. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, gorgeous texture with impressive tension on the finish. This is an outstanding Old Vine White that will age with style. Drinking window: 2023-2040. 93 points

    The indefatigable Andrea Mullineux guided me through her latest releases at Roundstone, their farm in Swartland. (If you are eager to read notes on back vintages, verticals of their red blends will be published in due course.) Mullineux farms her vines organically, or they are under conversion, including their entry-level Kloof Street in future vintages, though that will not be stated on the label. First, I asked her about the 2021 vintage. “It was a late start of spring,” she tells me. “It was cold but relatively dry until the end of July and August. August and September saw a bit of rain that led to later budding. There was consistent rain between sunny periods in September, so the vines had large canopies that acted as solar panels, therefore everyone had to be careful with canopy management. It was relatively cold up until Christmas. On January 1 we had the first of several heat waves – not long extended ones – more like waves of heat spikes. There were a lot of grapes, but nothing was going through véraison, that ended up three weeks later than normal for earlier ripening varieties like Chenin Blanc and Syrah, whereas later varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay were about on time. You had to make sure you did not miss the right moment to pick whilst keeping in mind not being trigger happy, just because harvest is later, the Syrah by three weeks. This created a concertina affect: all the whites coming in, a short pause and then all the reds. It’s quite a textural vintage with deep colours. On the second day of maceration, there was full colour extraction. The 2020 was a classic vintage with a greater number of warmer days than 2021. There was no picking pressure. We picked the Syrah over 14 days instead of the usual 10 as there was less disease pressure. We had no idea about the lockdown, but we had an amazing team in the winery. There was a natural phenolic ripeness.”

    Tasting through Mullineux Family Wines and their Leeu Passant project in Franschhoek, unsurprisingly, I found a very consistent set of wines that are evolving more individuality. Indeed, I commented to Mullineux that I cannot remember a vintage where there are such distinguishable differences between the Iron, Schist and Granite cuvées. In that respect, the 2020 Schist Syrah is a knockout, one of the finest I have tasted from Mullineux at this stage. Their Kloof Street remains a supremely affordable entry-point for many, whilst their two sweet wines, their straw wine and the third iteration of their solera – Olerasay – are ridiculously good, the latter flirting with perfection.”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (10/22)

    In Stock

  • Mullineux Schist Syrah 2018

    £73.95

    “The 2018 Syrah Schist was matured identically to the Granite Syrah. It is more open on the nose, with a greater proportion of red fruit compared to the 2018 Granite, raspberry and wild strawberry commingling with briar, white pepper, wild fennel and light Provençal herb aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, cohesive and finely chiseled, and the finish shows more precision and nuance than the Granite. Chris and Andrea Mullineux told me that this was their favorite Syrah in 2018. Mine too. Drinking window: 2024-2042. 94 points”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (04/21)

    In Stock

  • Mullineux Straw Wine 2021 (375ml)

    £31.95

    “The 2021 Straw Wine is pure Chenin as usual from vineyards that have the best malic acid as it tends not to precipitate out in such a sweet wine. It is dried outside over three months, barrel fermented until it stops naturally (340g/L residual sugar). It has an irresistible nose with pure honey, orange, strawberry and even a slight Aszu like quality. The palate is viscous and intense, the acidity effortlessly cutting through the richness with a beguilingly pure and seductive finish. Yet another to add to the canon of fabulous straw wines from the Mullineux’s. Drinking window: 2022-2048. 96 points

    The indefatigable Andrea Mullineux guided me through her latest releases at Roundstone, their farm in Swartland. (If you are eager to read notes on back vintages, verticals of their red blends will be published in due course.) Mullineux farms her vines organically, or they are under conversion, including their entry-level Kloof Street in future vintages, though that will not be stated on the label. First, I asked her about the 2021 vintage. “It was a late start of spring,” she tells me. “It was cold but relatively dry until the end of July and August. August and September saw a bit of rain that led to later budding. There was consistent rain between sunny periods in September, so the vines had large canopies that acted as solar panels, therefore everyone had to be careful with canopy management. It was relatively cold up until Christmas. On January 1 we had the first of several heat waves – not long extended ones – more like waves of heat spikes. There were a lot of grapes, but nothing was going through véraison, that ended up three weeks later than normal for earlier ripening varieties like Chenin Blanc and Syrah, whereas later varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay were about on time. You had to make sure you did not miss the right moment to pick whilst keeping in mind not being trigger happy, just because harvest is later, the Syrah by three weeks. This created a concertina affect: all the whites coming in, a short pause and then all the reds. It’s quite a textural vintage with deep colours. On the second day of maceration, there was full colour extraction. The 2020 was a classic vintage with a greater number of warmer days than 2021. There was no picking pressure. We picked the Syrah over 14 days instead of the usual 10 as there was less disease pressure. We had no idea about the lockdown, but we had an amazing team in the winery. There was a natural phenolic ripeness.”

    Tasting through Mullineux Family Wines and their Leeu Passant project in Franschhoek, unsurprisingly, I found a very consistent set of wines that are evolving more individuality. Indeed, I commented to Mullineux that I cannot remember a vintage where there are such distinguishable differences between the Iron, Schist and Granite cuvées. In that respect, the 2020 Schist Syrah is a knockout, one of the finest I have tasted from Mullineux at this stage. Their Kloof Street remains a supremely affordable entry-point for many, whilst their two sweet wines, their straw wine and the third iteration of their solera – Olerasay – are ridiculously good, the latter flirting with perfection.”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (10/22)

    In Stock

  • The Sadie Family Palladius 2018

    £109.75

    “The 2018 Palladius is a blend of 12 grape varieties, whole-cluster-pressed and matured in clay and concrete amphorae. Only Eben Sadie can take a gallimaufry of grape varieties and create a wine of this caliber. It has a clean, pure bouquet of wax resin, pine needles, greengage plum and light chamomile scents that gain intensity with aeration. The palate is bright and vivacious on the entry and displays a wonderful waxy texture; peach skin, hazelnut and saline notes appear toward the finish. It’s all about the umami. Chenin, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Clairette, Palomino, Verdellho, Grenache Gris, Sémillon Blanc, Sémillon Gris, Colombard. Drinking window: 2023-2040. 94 points

    It had been too long since I shot the breeze with Eben Sadie. Even though we couldn’t chat in his natural habitat, the vineyard, our Zoom conversation between Surrey and the Swartland was the next best thing. As expected, our conversation meandered to cover all manner of subjects, not only pertaining to South Africa. Eben Sadie is a contradiction in the sense that he is wedded to his homeland yet has a catholic taste in wine, as evidenced by rows of Burgundy and Barolo bottles lining his office. He began in typically philosophical form, looking back at his professional career.

    “I have surpassed everything I set out to do and forged a team around me with similar capabilities. You need people to follow with the same trajectory, people that buy into your vision. It’s like a painter. You need a good studio where you feel free to practice your art. Wine is the same, but there are all these people who make it possible. We’ve gone from a staff of 10 to 25, mostly on the viticultural side. We have also acquired land, so that 80% of the vineyards are completely controlled by ourselves, even if from a financial standpoint it is much less profitable. Also, we have planted different grape varieties, which is exciting, though not all are successful.”

    One intriguing exchange concerned how Sadie reassesses the modus operandi in the winery every decade. In introducing a new approach – a change in punch-downs or aging vessel, for example – he wants to pressure-test that technique under different growing seasons and/or with different people, in order to gauge if it should be a permanent feature. Since the 2019 vintage is the 20th anniversary of Sadie Family Wines, it prompted Sadie to look back. To take just one facet of winemaking, he sees the first decade as one where everything was destemmed, then a decade when whole bunch was almost mandatory. Going forward, he plans to adopt a more nuanced approach.

    “Whole cluster is such a huge debate at the moment. When you look at regional specifics, areas with very cool climates producing fruit with high acidity, low pH and often very low potassium are most suited to whole bunch. [Looking back at previous vintages] we found in the first decade that there was a level and sophistication of tannin that was better than in the second decade. It feels like a textural aspect was lost. The second finding was that the Swartland being low in acidity and high in potassium in the stems, compounded by the droughts, means that I don’t think Swartland is the best place for whole cluster. Therefore, for the Old Vine Series reds, we took the whole cluster down from 90% to 50% in 2019. We don’t do punch-downs but more like a délestage, so that is what we will do going forward.”

    We then drilled down to discuss individual wines within his Old Vine Series of releases, commencing with the reds.

    “With respect to the 2019 Soldaat, you might have noticed a vegetal aspect in the Grenache,” Sadie told me. “In late December we have started removing leaves around the bunches to remove that aspect. I like it, but I like very austere and ungiving wines. Pofadder is a pure Cinsault vineyard, one where I noticed that it crops much lower. I don’t subscribe to the view that low crops are necessarily the best, but here I think it is a good thing. The actual bunches are smaller. We used to get a lot of side bunches but they’ve not appeared in the last three years. That’s nothing that we have done.”

    Eben Sadie is a huge fan of Tinta Barocca and once he starts on the subject, you can do little to stop him.

    “The Tinta Barocca [the variety behind Trienspoor] has had the biggest leap in quality. I think it is the best grape planted in the Swartland but it’s an unknown. Even producers don’t know where to plant it. For the 2019 we had one tank completely destemmed and another half-destemmed, so it was 20% destemmed overall, though 2021 is completely destemmed. It has Piedmont-like tannins and Northern Rhône aromatics. The problem is that it has very low yields, which is why Portuguese growers did not plant it widely after the war, when they were getting paid per kilo. But it has such intensity of flavor that I have to stop my pickers from eating the grapes during harvest. The viticulture is much better in this vineyard now. Also, the aging is improved, using conical vats and one foudre to give a little more tannin.”

    Sadie is one of the rare breeds of winemakers with no qualms about admitting that he could have done better, even though personally, I construe it as a bit of serendipity.

    “The Skurfberg [pure Chenin Blanc] was maybe picked earlier than I wanted. The drought was at its peak and yields were down to 12hl/ha instead of 25-28hl/ha. We could have picked a week later, but we would have possibly killed the vines. Even picking earlier, some vines died because in some places there was just 118mm of rain, half the norm. So it has more acidity than normal, with a green line running through the wine. It’s very strict. I’ll be watching this wine out of the corner of my eye to see whether that earlier picking is something we should pursue. Mev. Kirsten is one of those wines where I talk with a pride that can border on arrogance. But there is no vineyard like it. It’s one of the most difficult soils that we farm – it gets so wet quickly and dries just as quick. We have put a lot of organic material in that vineyard over the last 10 years. From 2017 onward it has entered a completely different realm. I took a six-pack to Burgundy and poured it for some growers, and a couple said that it drinks like a Grand Cru. That’s a huge compliment. I’m so proud of the viticulture here. I would take Aubert de Villaine into that vineyard to show him.””

    Neal Martin, Vinous (04/21)

    In Stock

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    The Sadie Family Soldaat 2018

    £78.95

    “The 2018 Soldaat is pure Grenache Noir from Piekenierskloof. It offers earthy red berry fruit on the nose, touches of wild heather and fynbos emerging with time and lending wonderful complexity. The palate is well balanced with a fleshy opening. There are layers of vibrant red cherry and strawberry fruit laced with white pepper and sage toward the persistent finish. Yet there is an approachability to this Soldaat that means it will be difficult to resist in its youth. Drinking window: 2021-2042. 95 points”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (11/19)

    In Stock

  • Leeu Passant Dry Red 2017

    £69.99

    “The 2017 Dry Red Wine offers fragrant, open-knit scents of crushed strawberry, maraschino cherries, orange pith and a background scent of potpourri, cohering with aeration. The palate has a well balanced, quite fleshy opening and silky-smooth red fruit. More tender than expected, with a caressing, almost Grenache-like finish. Delicious. Drinking window: 2022-2036. 93 points”

    Neal Martin, Vinous (02/21)

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