Now that Porseleinberg has changed in style, the Mullineux’s Iron Syrah can adopt the mantle of the Cornas taste-alike of the Swartland. Tannic and intense, it’s a wild, dense, blood and guts style wine with lots of whole bunch intensity and a ferrous finish. 2024-35 96/100 Tim Atkin MW
The 2018 vintage experienced extremely dry conditions in the Swartland, with average yields reduced by 50% of normal volumes, while some vineyards were significantly lower. The lower yields resulted in significantly smaller grape bunches and berries but have led to concentrated fruit with complexity of flavour and aroma. The canopies were also more open, allowing more sunlight onto the grapes resulting in thicker skins, more tannins and darker fruit aromatics. Veraison was late, meaning harvest started 10 to 14 days later than normal. Another vintage with tiny yields but exciting quality.
Grapes for the ‘Iron’ Syrah are sourced from a single parcel of 19-year-old, organically-farmed, dry land bush vines on the rolling red clay and iron-rich soils west of Malmesbury. The soils are fast-draining, resulting in lower yields and smaller berries. This parcel of Syrah gives the best expression of the “koffieklip” soils – breadth and fullness on the mid-palate.
Grapes were first chilled in Mullineux’s cold room. The whole bunches were then put into open-top, 500-litre French oak barrels and crushed by foot to release some juice. Minimal SO2 was added, and, as with all their wines, no further additions were made. After about four days, fermentation began with indigenous yeasts and lasted about 10 days. The cap was manually punched down once a day before, during and after fermentation. Following a further four weeks of skin contact, the wine was drained and pressed to barrel for malolactic fermentation and maturation. The wine spent 12 months ageing in 500-litre French oak barrels (25% new), followed by nine months in second fill Foudre. After a total of 21 months in barrel, it was bottled unfiltered and unfined.
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