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. At the top of their quality ladder are the Single Terroir wines, made from small parcels of old vines, usually dry farmed on the ancient granite, quartz, schist or iron-based soils of the Swartland.
Fruit for this Chenin Blanc comes from a single parcel of dry-farmed bush vines planted in the stony shale and schist-based soils of Mullineux’s farm, Roundstone, on the Kasteelberg. The soils are rocky and well-drained, producing vines with smaller and more open canopies, naturally small bunches and thick-skinned berries. This parcel of Chenin Blanc gives the best expression of the Kasteelberg soil’s density with rich mouthfeel and fruit concentration.
Following five years of drought, the 2020 vintage received long-awaited rains. That said, many of the dry-farmed bush vines were still experiencing the effects of the drought. Limited water reserves, combined with cool and windy conditions during flowering produced very low yields, but intensely concentrated fruit. The grapes were harvested between the 29th and 31st January, showing lively acidities and great balance.
Grapes were first chilled in Mullineux’s cold room then pressed as whole bunches, before the juice was allowed to settle overnight. Minimal SO2 was added and, as with all their wines, no further additions were made. The juice was then racked to barrel for fermentation which took place with indigenous yeasts and lasted for about four weeks. The wine was left in barrels, on its lees, until spring. In total, the wine was spent 11 months in third and fourth fill French oak barrels. The barrels were racked and blended just before the following vintage and bottled unfiltered.