South Africa’s Swartland has recently taken the global spotlight as one of the most cutting-edge areas of the winemaking world today. Leading the pack of this revolutionary movement in winemaking has been the young and dynamic couple Chris and Andrea Mullineux whose handful of single vineyard Chenin Blanc and Syrah’s have quickly become amongst the most sought-after wines to hail from South Africa. With The Wine Advocate laying the claim of this “rock-star winemaking team” that“Their wines have raised the benchmark of what wine-lovers should expect” as well as being considered by Vinous as having, “already ascended to the top tier of South African wine owing to their splendidly complex Syrah bottlings from a variety of soil types in the Swartland; their white wines, especially from Chenin Blanc, are also excellent.” Today we are thrilled to be able to offer their fantastic value Old Vines White Blend, as well as the most recent releases of their superb signature Chenin Blanc and Syrah cuvées hailing from each of their respective schist, iron and granite soil single-vineyard sites.
With vines up to 70 years of age, the 2019 Old Vines White Blend predominantly Chenin Blanc (around 65%), but also includes Grenache Blanc, Macabeo, Verdelho, Clairette Blanche, Semillon Gris, and Viognier within the blend. Available today at just £98 per case of 6 IB, it is a fantastic introduction to the dynamic white blends which have put South Africa’s Swartland on the wine world’s centre stage. The single-terroir Chenin Blancs from Mullineux are resplendent with pure fruit and delicate finesse and structure. Today we are able to offer the 2019 Granite Chenin Blanc which has been awarded 96 Points by Tim Atkin MW as well as being named as one of his “Chenin Blancs of the Year” for, “Showing aromas of white flowers and gunflint, it has amazing focus, salinity and depth with linear acidity and notes of green apple, kitchen spices and umami.” We also have a small amount of the 2019 Quartz Chenin Blanc, which was awarded 94 points by Neal Martin of Vinous who was impressed by the “crushed rock and struck flint permeate the honeysuckle and jasmine scents. The palate is well balanced with a waxy opening. Quite a resinous Chenin Blanc, very well balanced, with a light spiced and chiseled finish.” Each of the 2019 Granite and Quartz Chenin Blanc are available today for the price of £200 per case of 6 IB.
The single vineyard Syrahs produced by Mullineux are undoubtably amongst the finest in South Africa, which are every bit as taut and complex as the legendary Syrah’s from France’s northern Rhone. The 2018 Schist Syrah was one of Tim Atkin MW’s “Top Syrahs of the Year,” receiving one of his top marks of 97 points, “My pick of the three top Mullineux Syrahs in 2018, this world-class red is the most perfumed and alluring of the trio right now. Combining fruit from the Kasteelberg and Roundstone, this has violet and lavender aromas, some sap and grip from 100% whole bunches, incredible focus and grip and a plush, seductive mid palate.” The 2018 Granite Syrah has also made his best of the year list with a 96 Point score from Atkin, who was partial to its “Structured and grippy, it’s a wine that will reward patience, with clove spice from 100% whole bunches, notes of blood orange and blackberry, fine oak and a tangy, refreshing finish.” Finally, rounding out the trio is the 2018 Iron Syrah which has been awarded 93 Points by Neal Martin of Vinous, who appreciates it as, “Rhône-like in style. The palate is medium-bodied with grippy tannins on the entry and granular in texture. Wonderful tension and mineralité come through on the graphite-tinged finish. This might ultimately be my pick from Mullineux’s Syrahs.” We are thrilled to be able to offer each of these single soil expression Syrah’s today for the price of £340 per case of 6 IB as well as having a very small amount available in magnum upon request.
Chris and Andrea Mullineux first met back in 2004 in Champagne while Chris, a South African was working in Bandol and Andrea, a Californian was working in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The pair had spent many years working in vineyards all over the world, but in 2007 they finally decided to put down roots in the Swartland because they were so swayed by the untapped potential to be found in the region’s spectacular old vines. Chris and Andrea began with just seven vineyards, but today they work with more than thirty from their own eighteen hectares, as well an additional eighteen or so owned by local growers who share their philosophy of sustainable farming and who allow them to take part in the farming process.
It is this dedication to the quality of their fruit that has led to them to be named Platter’s winery of the year in 2014, 2016, 2019, and most recently in 2020 as well as being named Tim Atkin MW’s “South African Winemakers of the Year.” Once in the winery, they believe in a minimal intervention style of winemaking with long, gentle macerations, natural and spontaneous fermentations and ageing in top-quality French oak barrels of varying sizes. Over the past decade, the acclaim for their wines has risen stratospherically seen and today their wines are some of the most highly sought-after wines in all of South Africa. The Mullineux empire has more recently expanded beyond the Swartland to Leeu Estates in Franschhoek, thanks to their partnership with Analjit Singh. Singh first visited South Africa in 2010 for the FIFA World Cup and was so inspired by the wines he discovered that he founded Leeu Estate in 2013, putting Chris and Andrea in place as the winemakers.