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.
This wine is made from two vineyard parcels which have been especially selected for their ability to yield fruit with lifted acidity to balance out this sweet wine. One parcel is 38 year old Chenin Blanc, grown on the stony shale- and schist-based soils of the Kasteelberg and the other is 40+ year old dry land bush vines from the decomposed Granite of the Paardeberg. The old, bushtrained wines provide complex fruit with concentrated sugars, ideal for this style.
The 2018 vintage experienced extremely dry conditions in the Swartland. Average yields were down by 50% of normal volumes, and in some vineyards this was considerably lower. The lower yields resulted in significantly smaller grape bunches and berries, but has led to concentrated fruit with complexity of flavour and aroma. The canopies were also more open allowing more sunlight onto the grapes resulting in thicker skins, more tannins and darker fruit aromatics.
Grapes were hand harvested at normal ripeness level of 23 Brix then left to dry in the shade outdoors for 2-4 weeks. This allowed moisture to evaporate naturally from the berries, concentrating sugars, acids and flavour. When the grapes had shrivelled half way to becoming raisins, they were crushed and pressed as whole bunches, and racked to old 225 litre barrels. Fermentation took around six months, slow due to the high sugar content in the must, and stopped naturally when the yeast could not ferment further. The barrels were then treated differently. Some were not topped up, but were allowed to oxidise slowly, to build complexity. Some were topped up every few months, but left without sulphur, and the remaining barrels were dosed with sulphur and topped up every couple of months to maintain their purity of fruit. After 12 months, the barrels are racked, blended and bottled unfiltered and unfined.
In the glass, this wine is bright yellow gold in colour with a rich, viscous appearance. On the nose, it is a complex, enticing blend of peaches, lemons and grapefruit with a hint of ginger. The intense mouth feel is balanced by a clean, fresh and very long finish.
|Grape Varieties||100% Chenin Blanc
|Notes||Sustainable, Vegan, Vegetarian