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Winery of the Week: Mullineux

If this was a multimedia guide, the words you’re reading would be accompanied with thunderous applause for the team this edition achieving an unparalleled fourth coveted pinnacle award in this guide. They’ve been Winery of the Year in both 2014 and 2016, then Top Performing Winery of the Year last year, and now (cue fireworks) they clinch a second consecutive Top Performing Winery accolade, with five maximum ratings, including Shiraz of the Year and Vin de Paille of the Year. All the more extraordinary for the modesty of the team led by Andrea and Chris Mullineux, wife-and-husband founders and co-owners (with Indian businessman Analjit Singh) of this non-interventionist venture based on Swartland farm Roundstone. Their aim is to reflect the diverse soils of the area using shiraz and chenin blanc as the lens in the varietal bottlings, and as cornerstone of the blends. While acknowledging that old vines play an important role, an eye on the changing climate has seen Chris and consultant Rosa Kruger initiate a planting programme. Look forward to – depending on performance – macabeu/viura, verdelho, assyrtiko and/or vermentino, among others, entering in the cellar, where Andrea and assistant Wade Sander weave their magic. For the team's near-equally stellar Franschhoek-based project, see under Leeu Passant.


Mullineux Granite Chenin Blanc 2018

(94 pts)

Single Terroir range
Category: Chenin blanc wooded, dry

Amongst oldest vineyards on Paardeberg, deep soils allow dryland farming with minimal stress. Perfectly poised 2018 is chenin pared back, showcases the unfruity loveliness of variety: persistent saline acidity, crystalline minerality, only then a quince nuance, including slight (positive) bitter lift.

Wine tasted by Cathy van Zyl.

Mullineux Granite Syrah 2017

(98 pts)

Single Terroir range
Category: Shiraz/syrah

Same winemaking for 3 syrahs puts terroir in the spotlight: wholebunch natural ferment, older 500L barrels/large foudres, unfined/filtered. 2017 from Paardeberg dryland vines, trademark lily perfume & sleek succulence, oystershell minerality, similar tightly wound tannin frame as 2016 (4.5 stars, 93 pts). Magnums too, as for most.

Wine tasted by Cathy van Zyl.

Mullineux Iron Syrah 2017

(97 pts)

Single Terroir range
Category: Shiraz/syrah

Lily, tobacco & black pepper nuances, ferrous character from dryland Malmesbury hills vineyard with deep, iron-rich koffieklip (ferricrete) soil. 2017 less compact & athletic than siblings but has excellent muscle tone, will be stellar for next decade or more.

Wine tasted by Cathy van Zyl.

Mullineux Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2019

(87 pts)

Kloof Street range
Category: Chenin blanc wooded, dry

‘Intro to the Swartland, rather than entry-level wine.’ From 2 granite sites on Paardeberg, just 10% oaked in new-livery 2019. Lively & bright, mulled pear & terracotta earthiness, long mineral finish. 2018 untasted.

Wine tasted by Cathy van Zyl.

Mullineux Old Vines White 2018

(96 pts)

Signature range
Category: White blends, wooded, dry

Senior vines, some veterans of 80 seasons, in 4 main Swartland soils. 2018 chenin-led with 4 others, harmonious melody of stonefruit, minerals & flowers, same brightening saline acidity as previous. A wine with soul & character, & only one beside Rouge with portion new oak, 20%, deftly handled.

Wine tasted by Cathy van Zyl.

Mullineux Quartz Chenin Blanc Leliefontein 2018

(94 pts)

Single Terroir range
Category: Chenin blanc wooded, dry

Rare concentration of quartz in this single Kasteelberg block, stones reflect sunlight into the canopy, aiding ripeness without sugar increase. Fine 2018 reined-in fruit, linear, with terse seam of minerality. Same vinification as chenin sibling to emphasise site: wholebunch, natural ferment, older 225L/500L barrels, unfined/filtered.

Wine tasted by Cathy van Zyl.

Mullineux Schist Syrah Roundstone 2017

(96 pts)

Single Terroir range
Category: Shiraz/syrah

From vineyard on Kasteelberg home-farm. Soil deeper, denser, little water-holding capacity, vines & bunches smaller. Fynbos scent, some smokiness, 2017 shows seamless elegance with a fine tannin structure, exceptional purity & vivacity. Long life ahead.

Wine tasted by Cathy van Zyl.

Mullineux Straw Wine 2018

(97 pts)

Signature range
Category: Vin de paille/straw wine

Unbeaten 5-star track record, 9 of 10 vintages. Fruit from 3 vineyards air-dried al fresco for week, then old-barrel fermented 10 months. Bewitching 2018 chenin’s myriad sweet, fruity & savoury layers interleaved with vibrant tangerine & lime acidity, subtle nutty oak. Tad less sugar (303 g/l) perfectly balanced with 9.8 g/l acid, will carry the wine a great many years. 375 ml.

Wine tasted by Cathy van Zyl.

Mullineux Swartland Rouge 2018

(89 pts)

Kloof Street range
Category: Red blends, other

Earlier-drinking option, varieties chosen for area history. 2018 step change, with 45% tinta just leading syrah, splashes grenache, cinsaut, carignan. Light textured & fruity as ever, enough in reserve for few years.

Wine tasted by Cathy van Zyl.

Mullineux Syrah 2017

(94 pts)

Signature range
Category: Shiraz/syrah

Blend of 3 soil types featured in terroir range, half the barrel time (12 months). 2017 quintessential shiraz scrub & hedgerow fruit, white pepper & charcuterie notes, limber tannins. Graceful wine now & minimum 5 years.

Wine tasted by Cathy van Zyl.