New Releases from Chris & Andrea Mullineux

New Releases from Chris & Andrea Mullineux
Chris and Andrea Mullineux are two of South Africa’s leading lights. Well-travelled, young and affable, they’ve become one of a handful of “revolutionary” producers in the Swartland. In terms of vineyards, Chris and Andrea own 18 hectares but partner also with local growers who share their sustainable, non-interventionist philosophy. This provides them with a further 18 hectares of wonderfully diverse, low-yielding vineyards bringing their total to around 36 hectares. Dedication and continued improvements over the past decade has seen their star rise and the wines become some of the most highly sought after from South Africa. In the cellar, winemaking is hands-off with long, gentle macerations designed to extract only quality tannins. Fermentation is natural and spontaneous and all of the wines spend time in top-quality French oak barrels of varying sizes.

The Old Vines White 2017 is a blend of majority Chenin Blanc (65%) with Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Viognier and a tiny proportion of Semillon Gris. It is a vibrant, delicious white with sumptuous fruit involving crisp white peaches, lemon juice and fresh herbs, carried with zip. Picked in the last week of January into early February 2017, producers like Mullineux have learnt to adapt to the drought conditions, using cover crops to slow ripening and limiting pruning to allow shadier canopies. In Chris’ own words though, “sense of place in Swartland is still about texture and mid-palate volume”, and their wines have that in spades. If you are yet to encounter the fantastic white blends of South Africa, the Old Vines White is a worthy introduction.

The single-terroir Chenin Blancs are imbued with beautiful fruit and fine-boned, subtle acid structures; they are rocky but at the same time floral, typically Swartland and extremely classy. We love them. The Syrahs are the finest we have tasted from South Africa and tremble with an intensity and rocky vigour that nods to top end Cote Rotie, with superb delineation of subtly spiced red and blue fruit, saline, mineral-inflected touches and a gallant tannic structure that will see them continue to improve for decades. Make no mistake, these are impressive, age worthy wines that are every bit as complex and refined as their more established European brethren. Recent vintages have been extraordinarily good chez Mullineux and Justerini & Brooks is delighted to have secured a small allocation for the first time.