These wines are made at Leeu Estates in Franschhoek, which was founded by Analjit Singh. The partnership with Chris and Andrea Mullineux started in 2013 when Analjit, who had visited South Africa for the first time in 2010 for the FIFA World Cup, bought into Mullineux. Chris and Andrea were brought in as winemakers at Leeu Estates, enabling them to work with fruit from Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and other regions beyond Swartland. “Rosa Kruger, our viticulturalist, had for years been enthusing to us about various parcels of fruit, but as they were outside the Swartland, we couldn’t use them in Mullineux,” explains Chris. Rosa Kruger, named ‘the queen of the Cape’s old vines’ by Tim Atkin MW, has been almost single-handedly responsible for finding and saving many of the Cape’s most venerable vineyards and also works with Fairview in Paarl and Gabriëlskloof in Walker Bay.
This Chardonnay comes from a single vineyard planted on the higher loam-based slopes of Helderberg Mountain. The site has a maritime influence, producing fruit with incredible intensity of flavour and zesty freshness.
Drought in 2018 reduced yields in South Africa by up to 50% of normal volumes. Cooler climate Stellenbosch fared slightly better during the dry weather. In general, the lower yields resulted in significantly smaller grape bunches and berries, leading to wines with higher than normal extract and concentration levels. The canopies were also more open allowing more sunlight onto the grapes resulting in thicker skins, more tannins and darker fruit aromatics.
On arrival at the winery, the grapes were chilled in a cold room facility. The grapes were then pressed as whole bunches and the juice was allowed to settle overnight. Minimal SO2 was added and no other additions are made. The juice was then racked to 225 litre French oak barrels for fermentation, 30% of which were new. Fermentation took place with indigenous yeasts and lasted up to eight weeks. The wine was left without additional sulphur on its lees for 12 months and during this time finished malolactic fermentation. The wine was then transferred to third and fourth use, 500 litre French oak barrels for a further six months prior to bottling.
TASTING NOTESThis Chardonnay has aromas of yellow stone fruits with hints of cloves. The textured palate has notes of peaches and lemon curd, with a touch of salinity and well-integrated oak character, all balanced by a zesty acidity. The finish is long, with a beautiful purity.