Mullineux Signature

Swartland, swartland South Africa

Founded by Chris and Andrea Mullineux in 2007, this winery is now one of the most lauded in South Africa. Named ‘Winery of the Year’ four times by the Platter Guide in 2014, 2016, 2019 and 2020, Mullineux were also Tim Atkin MW’s ‘South African Winemakers of the Year’ in 2016. They chose the town of Riebeek-Kasteel, just west of Malmesbury in the Swartland, for its old vineyards on granite and schist soils, reasoning that, with such quality fruit, they would be able to make outstanding wines. It is an understatement to say they have been proved right.

As always with great wines, the story starts in the vineyard. The Swartland is warm and dry in the summer and benefits from a cooling afternoon breeze from the Atlantic Ocean, which borders the Swartland to the West. Disease pressure is low, which in turn means spraying is kept to a minimum. While the trend in much of the rest of the world is to reintroduce native plants to vineyards to ensure a more balanced ecosystem, the fashion for monoculture in the 1970s and 1980s bypassed the Swartland.  As a result, most of the vineyards that Chris and Andrea own and lease are planted amid native species like fynbos. These provide a home for native insects, which in turn act as predators of other insects that can damage the vines. Once again, this enables spraying to be kept to a minimum.

The Mullineux Range comprises a Syrah, an Old Vines White and a Straw Wine. The Syrah is a blend of fruit from schist, iron and granite soils across a range of Swartland vineyards. Ninety percent of the fruit is whole bunch fermented, with maceration extended to as long as seven weeks for some batches simply because of the quality of the tannins. This gives a lovely structure and balance to the wine, with the tannins corseting the ripe and voluptuous fruit. The wine is aged in oak, 15% of which is new, for 14 months prior to bottling. The Old Vines White is sourced from seven different low-yielding (4-6 tonnes per hectare) vineyards in the Swartland, with 74% Chenin Blanc being supplemented by 8% Clairette Blanche, 6% Grenache Blanc, 7% Viognier, 2% Semillon Gris, 2% Viura and 1% Verdelho. The winemaking is similar to the Single Terroir Chenins: whole bunch pressing and fermentation in barrel with 100% malolactic. It is aged for 11 months in a combination of old French oak 500-litre barrels and 2,000-litre foudre. Their Straw Wine is one of the great sweet wines of the world. It is made from old vine Chenin Blanc that is harvested at normal ripeness levels and air-dried for three to four weeks, concentrating the sugars, flavours and, most importantly, acidity. The wine is slowly pressed and ferments in old barrels for six to nine months before natural settling and bottling. The resulting wine has an incredibly intense nose of dried fruit, marmalade, marzipan and honey. On the palate, it is powerful and intense, with around 300 grams per litre residual sugar, but this is balanced by a vibrant acidity that leaves the wine tasting fresh and dry.

In short, Mullineux is an outstanding producer that we are delighted to add to our portfolio.

 

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