Swartland


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  • 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 2019

    £73.95

    “Beginning with a floral grip, the 2019 Iron Syrah offers a seductive nose filled with red flowers, wild raspberry and dusty cherry as elegant spice tones waft from the glass. Medium to full-bodied, the wine has a fine mineral tension and firm, rocky tannins that lift the mid-palate. As the tannins loosen, the wine uncoils in the mouth, leading to a food-friendly and delightfully fragranced finish. This was made with 100% whole-cluster Syrah, and the wine rested for one year in 50% new French oak. It’s delicious! 3,300 bottles produced. Drink: 2022-2038. 95 points”

    Anthony Mueller, Wine Advocate (12/22)

    In Stock

  • Mullineux Old Vines White 2022

    £28.95

    “Opening to a slightly reductive nose, the 2022 Old Vine White offers aromas of citrus blossoms, turned earth and wax melon with yellow apples and Meyer lemon. Medium-bodied, the palate is fresh, bright and succulent, with a kiss of phenolic bitterness before finishing with a long, spicy finish. It’s incredibly food friendly and will continue to deliver pleasure for years. Nicely done! Drink: 2023-2035. 92 points”

    Anthony Mueller, Wine Advocate (12/23)

    In Stock

  • Mullineux Schist Syrah 2019

    £73.95

    “The 2019 Syrah Schist has a nicely detailed bouquet that opens in the glass, delivering plenty of black currant, cassis and violet scents, plus a touch of game in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with lithe tannins that belie the depth of this Syrah. Beautifully balanced, seamless and satiny in texture, this just slips down the throat. It will be difficult to resist in its youth. Drinking window: 2023-2040. 92 points

    Andrea Mullineux sent me a detailed overview of Leeu & Mullineux with useful summaries of growing seasons. “In the vineyard, we continue to strive for true sustainability by working with self-sowing and permanent cover crops as well as letting our own indigenous cows graze on the farm’s pastures, making manure that we use in the compost that will feed the ground and improve soil carbon. This has, over several years, created healthier soil that retains more moisture, allowing us to dry-farm even in the drought years. Natural soil nutrition also improved so no chemical fertilizers are used. For both wineries, we have a strong base of making wine from old vines, but you cannot get old vines without young vines, so we are also planting young vineyards with the pace and the idea that they will one day become very old. This means that we want the vines to grow slow and even, pruning always with the focus on quality and longevity. We have also planted ‘experimental’ blocks of varieties that may work in the Swartland, especially if the climate continues to change, including Rousanne, Assyrtiko and Vermentino. We have already had wonderful results with Macabeo and Verdelho.”

    “As business owners, we have seen how vulnerable so many have been during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and prohibition in South Africa. We decided to help create more sustainable futures for our loyal employees by starting an additional winemaking company that they could have ownership in, Great Heart Wines. Each employee maintains the same role that they have within Mullineux and Leeu Passant, but they have shareholding and the opportunity to be a director of Great Heart Wines. The only employee with a different role is Gynore Fredericks, who is a graduate of the Cape Winemakers Guild Protege Programme and my assistant winemaker for Mullineux. I am on board to oversee the wines as a cellarmaster for Great Heart, but Gynore is the titled Great Heart winemaker, which has been a great opportunity for her to grow.”

    “As the winemaker for the Mullineux and Leeu Passant wineries, even though I was heavily involved in the vineyards, I am now even more intimately involved with them, taking accountability through to the final wines. Nothing has changed stylistically or philosophically with the wines, but as I have matured, so has my approach in the cellar, knowing more, after years of trial and error, about where to step in and be the custodian and where I can let the wines achieve everything they were set out to do with minimal interference.

    Now for the vintages. The 2019 was the fourth vintage of the ‘Great Drought’ and was characterized by naturally low yields from vines. Winter 2018 was, again, exceptionally dry, but also cold, and this allowed the vines to rest well before the growing season. Spring was relatively dry, but not excessively warm, and this resulted in smaller canopies and smaller bunches and berries. Summer 2019 was also warm and dry, and harvest started at roughly normal dates (last week of January in the Swartland and mid-February in Stellenbosch) with tiny berries and small loose clusters. Cool evenings allowed the freshness of the wines to be maintained. There was some higher disease pressure in Stellenbosch later in the harvest, brought on by some mid-season precipitation, but our Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, our last to come in, are not late-ripening for the region and we evaded rot by getting the grapes off the vines in time. In the Swartland, an interesting observation is that glucose and fructose ratios had returned to normal and therefore the alcohol-to-sugar ratio significantly improved within our vineyards and our natural/indigenous yeast metabolisms. We saw higher alcohols in the previous years, even though the picking sugars had not increased, and we attributed this to the higher fructose levels in the earlier drought years. The good news is that all of the wines were sugar dry in the end, but in 2018 and before, the alcohols were 0.5%+ higher than what was expected.

    “After the drought we experienced from 2016 to 2019, the 2020 harvest produced yields that were closer to normal. Also, the weather in 2020 was just perfect. We had a lovely wet and cold 2019 winter and very little rain during the growing season, so the grapes were super healthy with small, intensely flavored berries. The irony of the social/government/health challenges we were facing as a country is that we probably had our best vintage in 2020. The season started relatively late and we were able to harvest Chenin and Syrah for Mullineux a few weeks later than the past few years and at moderate potential alcohol levels. The Chardonnay, Cinsault, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon for Leeu Passant ripened at ‘normal’ times due to a warmer second half of harvest, so this created a bit of an accordion effect with a huge mid-harvest crunch. However, with the looming lockdown that we were facing, this ended up being a blessing, as there was no scrambling to complete harvest. Though we were still experiencing very dry conditions in the Cape, the hard work that we had been putting into our vineyards over 5-plus years was clearly evident during this season.””

    Neal Martin, Vinous (11/21)

    In Stock

  • Mullineux Schist Chenin Blanc 2021

    £51.95

    The 2021 Chenin Blanc Schist come from the Roundstone Estate on rocky, tile-like stones that are less water retentive and produce more compact vines with smaller bunches and extra structure. It has a more austere bouquet than the Granite, slate-like and earthier by comparison. The palate is taut and saline on the entry, quite strict with a little more nerve than the Granite, pointed towards the finish with a tingle of stem ginger on the aftertaste. This will require a little more bottle age. Very fine. Drinking window: 2025-2030. 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 (09/22)

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  • Mullineux Syrah 2020

    £31.49

    “The 2020 Syrah is virtually crushed whole cluster (no carbonic) from mainly schist soils, around 70% of the blend. This is well-defined and focused on the nose, red berry fruit intermixed with light ember and garrigues-like aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red fruit, fine acidity and grip with a Cornas-like finish leaning more towards black than red fruit and cracked black pepper on the aftertaste. This will give 20 years’ drinking pleasure. Drinking window: 2024-2040. 92 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 (09/22)

    Sold Out