An important release not only for The Mullineux’s but also integral for The South African wine industry. Since their inception in 2008, the trio that form the ‘Mullineux Signature Wines’ and the core of their offering, have received high acclaim both locally and internationally.
Mullineux Old Vines White 2022
Although the composition of The Old Vine White has developed over the years, the winemaking method and approach has remained the same. The objective has always been to work as naturally as possible, with natural yeasts and natural malolactic acids. The grapes are given no protection (little-to-no sulphur is added until half way through the year) and are worked oxidatively, only the juice that can withstand the test of time is put to barrel.
With the oxidative juice handling, the wines have a broader texture early in their lives and close up gracefully as they mature. The 2013, a white wine of 10 years, was almost ageless, still withholding a vivacious energy.
The incredible texture and backbone of the blend is brought by the low yielding old-vine Chenin Blanc. The Clairette Blanche and Grenache Blanc add layers of salinity and freshness and its opulent fragrance is from the Viognier, Semillon Gris and Verdelho.
‘Upfront aromas of fresh stone fruit and lightly poached pear follow through to a complex palate with layers of yellow grapefruit and nectarines, a vibrant acidity and hints ginger and citrus-esque galangal on the finish.’
This really is a wine which speaks the land of The Swartland. If you listen to the wine it has a distinct accent and a clear sense of place. You can taste the sunshine, feel the texture of ancient soils and relish in the intensity of the old vines. In the same breath comes a vibrancy and a lick of freshness to balance the wine.
72.4% Chenin Blanc, 6.4% Semillon Gris, 6.3% Clairette Blanche, 6.3% Grenache Blanc, 6.2% Viognier, 2.4% Verdelho
Alcohol 13.40% – RS1.7g/l – TA5.50g/l – pH3.40
Available on winecellar.co.za for R415
Mullineux Syrah 2020
Again Chris and Andrea strive for this wine to be the best possible expression of Swartland. Swartland reds, and particularly Syrah, have a very distinct personality. Their tannins are firm but never rough or astringent. Chalky, velvety tannins are the signature of Swartland penned in elegant calligraphy. The other calling card is it’s perfume, which this Syrah most certainly expresses, with aromas of ‘mulberries, wild growing white Watsonia Lilies and black olive tapenade.’
90% whole-cluster fermentation takes place to ensure a magnifying glass on the Swartland terroir. Whole clusters are an extension of the vine Andrea explains; “grapes are attached to the stems which are attached to the vine which is connected to the roots which is in the ancient soils. So when you work with the stems it brings an extra element of terroir into the glass.” It also brings perfume and enhances the grip of the tannin while bringing a coolness to the palate. The very structured palate follows with intricate layers of dark plum, kumquat and vibrant notes of sour cherry and finishes with powerful and velvety tannins.
Alcohol13.4% – RS1.8g/l – TA5.2g/l – pH3.77
An interesting fact shared by Chris; all Syrah ages on an ‘S’ curve. It starts out amazing for the first few years after bottling and then it almost goes into hibernation until its around 8-10 years old at which point it flourishes again. So you should either drink Syrah when it is young or after 8-10 years to get the most out of it!
Available to buy on Wine cellar.co.za for R445
Mullineux Straw Wine 2022
Straw wine is the sweet wine that makes the most sense to produce in The Swartland. They certainly can’t make icewine, they don’t have botrytis and late harvest doesn’t appeal to them in their climate.
Each harvest their freshest two old vine Chenin Blanc vineyards, which provide natural acidity, have become integral in the creation of the Mullineux Straw Wine. These are from a 45-year- old Granite soil vineyard on the Paardeberg and a 41-year-old Schist soil vineyard on Kasteelberg, respectively.
To make the straw wine they harvest old vine Chenin at normal ripeness and let the grapes dry out over 3/4 weeks outside (in the shade). As the moisture evaporates, the sugar, flavours and most importantly the acids, concentrate. After which the dehydrated, almost raisin like, grapes are crushed and pressed. It takes 24 hours to press as the juice drips out like syrup. The sweet juice is transferred to barrel and natural fermentation kicks in. On average the fermentation takes 9-12 months but one vintage the fermentation carried on for almost 5 years! This slow ferment enhances the complexity even more, developing the primary flavours of Chenin Blanc into marmalade fruit notes.
Only one barrel of wine is produced from one hectare of vines so you can see why this is liquid gold. It’s an expensive wine to make, and to enjoy, but yet it is worth every cent.
The result is another very Swartlandesque wine with a unbridled yet balanced intensity. There is a lot of sugar which is counterbalanced by an incredibly refreshing acidity.
The luminous, viscous and bright golden colour reflects beautifully in the light as you swirl your glass, highlighting the well-balanced acidity of this vintage of our Mullineux Straw Wine. This Granitic freshness is reminiscent of wines grown in these ancient Swartland soils. The palate reveals complex layers of sun-dried apricots, limes and a distinct pithiness, all characters culminating from the rich Schist soils of Kasteelberg, which in turn develop into an enticing Meebos-like salinity and intense velvety mouth feel.
This is a wine The Mullineuxs, and simultaneously, South Africa has become very well known for internationally. Alongside Vin de Constance it is rated as one of the best dessert wines coming out of the country.
Alcohol 7.5% – RS 342g/l – TA10.7g/l – pH3.38
These wines offer decisive expressions of The Swartland. They showcase the attributes the region has become renowned for, namely the incredible old vines, ancient soils, a very dry climate, sunshine and a natural intensity.
Although their philosophy has remained the same throughout the years Chris and Andrea have learnt with maturity to fine tune their offerings – each vintage a little more refined, a little more polished. The wines certainly impress on release but that is not their focus, now their track record and the wines longevity is more important.
All wines are available through Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines tasting room in Franschhoek. Or email Kayo@mlfwines.com