Mullineux

Owned and operated by Andrea and Chris Mullineux, Mullineux is a small, highly focused family winery producing wines in the Swartland Region of South Africa.  As a leader in the so-called Swartland Revolution, the winery produces hand crafted, terroir based wines on the granite, shale, iron, quartz, and schist laced lands of the region.

 

The vineyards are planted mostly with Mediterranean grape varieties that are ideally suited to the environment, and are farmed in harmony with their surroundings. Dry farming allows for a natural concentration in the wines, and ensures the vines properly reflect the character of each vintage. Cover cropping is practiced to maintain healthy, balanced insect populations and help with nitrogen assimilation. In the cellar, apart from minimal amounts of sulfur, nothing is added to, or removed from the wines. They use indigenous yeasts, do not add acids, tannins, or enzymes, and bottle the wines unfined and unfiltered.

 

In 2015, Mullineux received an infusion of capital from their new partner Analjit Singh.  Andrea and Chris subsequently purchased the Roundstone farm on the Western slopes of the Kasteelburg Mountain. As part of this expansion, they have partnered with viticulturist Rosa Krueger who is widely considered one of the South Africa’s leading figures in the field.  Having documented valuable sources of old vine vineyards throughout the Western Cape, Krueger now works with Mullineux on their new planting program of Syrah, Chenin blanc, Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette blanche, Carignan, Semillon, Roussanne, and Maccabeu.

 

"Chris and Andrea Mullineaux are at the forefront of the so-called -Swartland Revolution. They adopt a minimalist approach to their wines with particular focus upon expression of terroir, with the goal of translating the granite and schist soils of Swartland. This is Old World mantra applied to the New World to great effect." Neal Martin Wine Advocate

 

Kloof Street Chenin Blanc

Grapes for the 2014 Chenin blanc come from three vineyard parcels in different parts of the Swartland: One parcel of 34 year-old Chenin blanc planted in the stony shale and schist based soils of Riebeek Kasteel Mountain, and two parcels of 40+ year-old dry land, bush vine Chenin grown in the decomposed granite of the Paardeberg mountain. Grapes were hand-harvested between the 1st February and 14th February 2014, chilled in a cold room, and then pressed whole-bunch with the juices allowed to settle overnight. Minimal SO2 is added, and no further additions are made. The juice is then racked to tank (85%) and older French oak barrels (15%) for fermentation. Fermentation is with indigenous yeasts and lasts up to 6 weeks. The barrels are then racked and blended with the tank fermented portion and then bottled.

Varietals: 100% Chenin Blanc; Production: 2310 cases; Alcohol: 13.5%; Residual sugar: 2.9 g/l; Total acidity: 5.8 g/l; pH: 3.25

Reviews:
Price: Fl $180, 5cs $168
 
Kloof Street Rouge

Grapes for the 2013 Kloof Street red come from seven vineyard parcels in different parts of the Swartland: One parcel of Mourvedre grown on the rolling, iron-rich soils west of Malmesbury; two parcels of Syrah and one parcel of Cinsault planted in the stony shale and schist based soils of Riebeek Kasteel Mountain; and one parcel of dry land, bushvine Syrah, one Carignan, and one Grenache all grown in the decomposed granite of the Paardeberg mountain. Vines are aged between 12 and 40 years. Grapes were hand-harvested between the 2nd and 27th February 2013, chilled in a cold room where they were destemmed to tank and around 25% whole bunches were added. Minimal SO2 is added and no other additions are made. The must is initially pigeaged once a day. After about 4 days, fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts, and the wine is pigeaged once or twice a day, depending on extract and tannin development. Temperatures are not allowed to exceed 28 °C. Total maceration is generally between 4 to 6 weeks, also depending on tannin development. The wine is then drained and pressed to barrel for malolactic fermentation and maturation. The different parcels are racked in Spring to blend the wine, which is then returned to barrel and bottled after 11 months in barrel, and 12 months blended in tank.

Varietals: 85% Syrah, 9% Carignan, 2% Mourvedre, 2% Cinsault, 2% Grenache; Production: 2900 cases; Alcohol: 13.5%; Residual sugar: 3 g/l; Total acidity: 5.9 g/l; pH: 3.55

Reviews:

2013: Wine Advocate - 88

Price: FL $160
 
White Blend

Grapes for our 2013 white blend come from five vineyard parcels in different parts of the Swartland: One parcel of 34 year-old Chenin blanc planted in the stony shale and schist based soils of Riebeek Kasteel Mountain; two parcels of 40-70 year-old dry land, bush vine Chenin and one parcel of 80 year old Clairette blanche grown in the decomposed granite of the Paardeberg mountain; and a parcel of 15 year-old Viognier planted on the rolling, iron-rich soils west of Malmesbury. Grapes are havested between 27th January and 13th February 2013 and are subsequently placed in a cold room. The grapes are then pressed whole-bunch and the juice is allowed to settle overnight. Minimal SO2 is added and, as with all our wines, no other additions are made. The juice is then racked to barrel for fermentation. Fermentation is with indigenous yeasts, and lasts up to 8 weeks. The wine is left without additional sulphur on its lees until spring. During this time the wine finished malolactic fermentation. The barrels are racked and blended just before the following vintage and bottled unfiltered.

 

Varietals: 80% Chenin Blanc, 13% Clairette Blanche, 7% Voignier

Production: 1,583cases

Alcohol: 13.5%

Residual sugar: 1.5 g/l

Total acidity: 5.8 g/l

pH 3.29

Reviews:

"The 2013 Mullineux White is a blend of 7% Viognier, 80% Chenin Blanc and 13% Clairette including up to 80-year-old vines that is 100% barrel fermented with 15% to 20% new oak (foudre). It has a lovely nose of peach skin, apricot blossom, melted candle wax and just a faint fynbos/menthol scent. The palate is medium-bodied with a slight waxy, dried honey entry with hints of white pepper and lemongrass lending tension and vibrancy towards the zesty finish that displays good length. Superb." ~ 92, Wine Advocate November 2015

 

(80% Chenin Blanc, 13% Clairette and 7% Viognier; fermented in barrels, then aged in foudres, about 10% new): Bright yellow. Explosive, highly nuanced aromas and flavors of candied lemon peel, powdered ginger, exotic flowers, beeswax and pine needles, plus hints of menthol and mint. Juicy, spicy and quite dry, conveying an impression of richness with inner-mouth tension. Finishes with a firmer structure, and more obvious phenolic character, than the Kloof Street Chenin. The Viognier is 16 years old, but the average age of the vines in the blend is more like 60, according to Andrea Mullineux." ~ 92, Vinous June 2015

Price: Fl $240; 5cs $228
 
Swartland Syrah

Grapes for the 2012 Syrah were sourced from seven vineyard parcels in different parts of the Swartland: four parcels planted in the stony shale and schist based soils of Kasteelberg Mountain; two parcels of dry land, bush vines grown in the decomposed granite of the Paardeberg Mountain; and one on the rolling, iron-rich soils west of Malmesbury. Vines are aged between 18 and 25 years. Grapes were hand-harvested between 26th of January and 15th of February, 2012. Each parcel of grapes is chilled in a cold room then about 50% are destemmed to tank and the remainder is added as whole bunches. Minimal SO2 is added, and no further additions are made. The must is initially pigeaged once a day. After about 4 days fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts and the wine is pigeaged once or twice a day, depending on extract and tannin development. Temperatures are not allowed to exceed 28 °C. Fermentation lasts from 7 to 10 days after which 3 to 7 weeks (also depending on tannin development) skin contact is given. The wine is then drained and pressed to barrel (15% new French oak) for malolactic fermentation and maturation. The different parcels are racked in Spring to blend the wine, which is then returned to barrel and bottled unfiltered and unfined after a further 14 months maturation.

 

Varietals: 100% Syrah

Alcohol: 13.5%

Residual sugar: 2.2 g/l

Total acidity: 6.1 g/l

pH: 3.58

Reviews:

"Mullineux's 2013 Syrah includes about 80% whole bunch fruit as it was a cool year from seven different vineyards (five schist, one granite and one on ferrous soils). It has a blackberry and cranberry leaf-scented bouquet, and a pleasant herbal note with rose petals coming through. The palate is medium-bodied with a cool exterior and it is full of tension, and quite linear with blackberry, a touch of mint and cedar with a structured, almost Cornas-like finish. I think the whole-bunch works really well here, although it will benefit from 3-5 years in bottle. Readers should note that in 2013 this bottling includes the Granite Syrah that the Mullineux's felt would benefit the overall blend." ~ 94, Wine Advocate November 2015

Price: Fl $280, 2 cs $264
 
Schist Chenin

Grapes for the 2014 Schist Chenin come from two parcels of sustainably farmed Chenin Blanc planted in the stony Shale and Schist based soils of the Kasteelberg, aged 36 and 40 years old. Grapes were hand harvested on the 28th January and 4th February 2014, chilled in a cold room, and then pressed whole-bunch. The juice settled overnight and then, with minimal S02 added and no other additions, racked to barrel (3rd to 4th fill French oak) for fermentation with indigenous yeasts for about 4 weeks. The wine was then left in barrels on its lees until Spring, during which time malolactic fermentation finished. The barrels are racked and blended just before the following vintage and bottled unfiltered.

 

Varietals: 100% Chenin Blanc

Production: 72 cases

Alcohol: 14%

Residual Sugar: 1.7 g/l

Total Acidity: 5.1 g/l

pH: 3.54

Reviews:

"The 2014 Schist Chenin Blanc is more broody and introspective compared to the 2014 Quartz Chenin Blanc with hints of licorice and lanolin on the nose. The palate is very well balanced with a pleasing "fatness" on the mid-palate. This is more viscous compared to the other Chenin Blanc bottlings from Mullineux, with an almost Southern Rhône-like finish and a long spicy aftertaste. This is another outstanding Chenin Blanc from Mullineux - as you would expect." ~ 92, Wine Advocate November 2015

Price: (6 packs) Fl $360
 
Granite Syrah

Grapes for the 2012 Granite Syrah were sourced from a single parcel of 19 year old dry land, bush vines grown in the decomposed Granite of the Paardeberg Mountain. This is the parcel of Syrah that gives the best expression of the Paardeberg’s terroir – freshness and perfume. Grapes were hand-harvested on February 2nd 2012 and were chilled in a cold room before the whole bunches were put into open-top 500L French oak barrels (50% new) and foot stomped to release some juice. Minimal SO2 was added, and no further additions were made. After about 4 days, fermentation began with indigenous yeasts and lasted about 10 days. A further four weeks skin contact was given after which the wine was drained and pressed to barrel for malolactic fermentation and maturation. Pigeage occurred once a day before, during, and after fermentation. In Spring the wine was racked and after a total of 23 months in barrel was bottled unfiltered and unfined. 10 months of aging in bottle was then given before release.

 

Varietals: 100% Syrah

Production: 84 cases and 50 magnums

Alcohol: 13.5%

Residual sugar: 2.9 g/l

Total acidity: 5.5 g/l

pH 3.71

Reviews:

"Andrea Mullineux told me that their debut 2012 Mullineux Iron Syrah has been the hardest cru to fine-tune over the years. Indeed, it has been trialed since 2005 but never bottled…until now. “We have been working hard to perfect the acidity here and it’s been important to get life into the soil, getting the vineyard healthy, so that it can be picked with good acidity. Because it is dry farmed, in a space of three days, it can god from 22 to 26 Brix – so picking decision is critical,” she said. It has a subtle marine influence coming through on the nose with macerated black cherries, boysenberry jam and touches of iodine. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, quite grainy tannins, very nicely poised with touches of fig and marmalade towards the slightly saline finish. This is a strong debut to form the trio of Syrah single "terroir" offerings." ~ 93, Wine Advocate October 2014

 

"Dark ruby-red. Sexy, very ripe aromas of candied blueberry, flint, woodsmoke and Christmas spices. Lush, broad and fine-grained; shows an almost candied cherry quality but comes across as nicely dry (there's actually 2.9 g/l r.s. here). Finishes with smooth tannins and lovely lingering perfume. Superb Syrah for drinking young or a decade down the road." ~ 92, Vinous June 2015

Price: (6 packs) Fl $600
 
Schist Syrah

Grapes for the 2013 Schist Syrah were sourced from a single parcel of sustainably farmed 18 year old vines planted in the stony shale and schist soils of Roundstone Farm on the Kasteelberg. This parcel of Syrah gives the best expression of the Kasteelberg’s terroir – density and structure. Grapes were hand-harvested between the 6th and 14th February 2013, were chilled in a cold room, and then the whole bunches were put into open-top 500L French oak barrels (50% new) and foot stomped to release some juice. Minimal SO2 was added, and no further additions were made. After about 4 days fermentation began with indigenous yeasts and lasted about 10 days. A further four weeks skin contact was then given after which the wine was drained and pressed to barrel for malolactic fermentation and maturation. We pigeaged once a day before, during and after fermentation. In Spring the wine was racked and after a total of 23 months in barrel was bottled unfiltered and unfined. 10 months of aging in bottle was then given before release.

 

Varietals: 100% Syrah

Alcohol: 13.5%

Residual sugar 1.8 g/l

Total acidity 5.1 g/l

pH 3.85

Reviews:

"The 2013 Schist Syrah does not quite possess the same delineation as the 2013 Iron Syrah on the nose, with touches of dark chocolate infusing the red berry fruit, later clove and Provençal herbs. The palate is medium-bodied with fleshy ripe tannin. This has a bit more body than the 2013 Iron, with more sumptuousness, freshness and corpulence with smooth, slightly gamey red berry fruit, truffle and undergrowth. Once the aromatics, open this might be the pick of recent releases from Mullineux." ~ 94, Wine Advocate November 2015

Price: (6 packs) Fl $600
 
Iron Syrah

Grapes for the 2013 Iron Syrah were sourced from a single parcel of organically farmed dry land bush vines on the rolling iron-rich soils west of Malmesbury. This parcel of Syrah gives the best expression of the “koffieklip” terroir – broadness and mid-palate. Grapes were hand-harvested between 26th January and 2nd February 2012, and grapes were first chilled in a cold room then the whole bunches were put into open-top 500L French oak barrels and foot stomped to release some juice. Minimal SO2 was added, and no further additions were made. After about 4 days fermentation began with indigenous yeasts and lasted about 10 days. A further four weeks skin contact was given after which the wine was drained and pressed to barrel (50% new) for malolactic fermentation and maturation. We pigeaged once a day before, during and after fermentation. In Spring the wine was racked and after a total of 23 months in barrel was bottled unfiltered and unfined. 10 months of aging in bottle was then given before release.

Varietals: 100% Syrah; Production: 234 cases and 100 magnums; Alcohol: 13.5%; Residual sugar: 1.6 g/l; Total acidity: 4.9 g/l; pH: 3.91

Reviews:

"The 2013 Iron Syrah has a roundness and softness on the nose that almost belies its complexity - red berry fruit, red peppercorns, rooibos and undergrowth scents that are very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannin, wonderfully savory and quite gamey, and beautifully balanced with impressive volume and sustain on the finish that you would have difficulty distinguishing from a top Côte-Rôtie. This is an excellent Syrah, my only reservation being that there is a touch of heat on the finish." ~ 93, Wine Advocate November 2015

Price: (6 packs) Fl $600
 
Olerasay

Grapes for this Straw Wine are sourced from the parcels of old vine Chenin Blanc that give the best acidity at harvest. The vines are planted in the stony Schist based soils of the Kasteelberg and the decomposed Granite based soils of the Paardeberg. Grapes were hand-harvested each year at normal ripeness levels and left to dry in the shade of some trees for a few weeks. When the grapes have shriveled half way to becoming raisins, naturally concentrating sugars, acids, and flavor, they are crushed and pressed whole bunch into old 225L French oak barrels. The juice ferments naturally for around 9 months and finishes on its own, with no fortification or filtration. Since 2008, Mullineux has held back a barrel or two of each vintage of their Straw Wine and blended them together, refreshing the solera each year with the new vintages. Olerasay is from barrels which have been fractionally blended for the vintages 2008 through 2014, producing many layers of complexity, nuttiness and depth.

 

Varietals: 100% Chenin Blanc

Production: 425 cases

Alcohol: 11%

Residual Sugar: 262 g/l

Total Acidity: 10.2 g/l

pH: 3.48

Reviews:

"Made from vintages 2008-2014, fractionally blended solera-style (hence the 'pig Latin' name!). NV richly woven, with layered glacé pineapple, caramel, citrus peel & toasted hazelnuts; vast 260 g/l sugar is uncloying, with lovely freshness, piquancy & length at just 11% alcohol. A Bacchanalian masterpiece, deserved recipient of the inaugural Dessert Wine of the Year award." ~ Platter's, 5 stars, 2016 Dessert Wine of the Year

 

"The Non-Vintage Olerasay is a solera made from oxidized Mullineux Straw Wine between 2008 and 2014 - two barrels held back to top up each year and it will only be released in years when it is felt to be superior to the straw wine. It delivers 268 grams per liter of residual sugar. It has a captivating nose with Barsac-like barley sugar, honey and marmalade with very little signs of oxidation. The palate is smooth and utterly harmonious, extraordinarily pure with perfect acidity, sensual with honey, mandarin, peach and a touch of brown sugar on the long finish. It is the harmony here that grabs you - almost effortless. Stunning." ~ 97, Wine Advocate November 2015

Price: (6 pack, 375ml) Fl $200
 
Straw Wine

The grapes for this wine come from one parcel of 35 year-old Chenin blanc planted in the stony Shale and Schist based soils of the Kasteelberg and one parcel of 40+ year-old dry land, bush vine Chenin grown in the decomposed Granite of the Paardeberg mountain. These are the parcels that give the best acidity at harvest. Grapes were hand-harvested between the 26th January and 5th February 2013 at normal ripeness level of 23° Brix then left to dry in the shade outdoors for 2-4 weeks. This allows moisture to evaporate naturally from the berries, concentrating sugars, acids and flavour. When the grapes have shriveled half way to becoming raisins they are crushed and pressed whole bunch, and racked straight to old 225L barrels. A small amount of sulphur is added to inhibit bacteria but allow the natural yeast to ferment. Fermentation takes roughly 6 months and stops naturally when the yeast cannot ferment further. The barrels are then treated differently: Some are not topped, but allowed to oxidize slowly, to build complexity. Some are topped every few months, but left without sulphur, and the remaining barrels are dosed with sulphur and topped every couple of months to maintain their purity and fruit. After 12 months the barrels are racked and blended, and the wine is bottled unfiltered and unfined.

Varietals: 100% Chenin Blanc; Production: 460 cases; Alcohol: 10%; Residual sugar: 268.8 g/l; Total acidity: 10.4 g/l; pH: 3.37

Reviews:

2013: Tanzer - 93; Wine Advocate - 96

Price: (6 pack, 375ml) Fl $168, 5 cs $160