After working several harvests in France, South Africa and California, Chris and Andrea Mullineux chose to settle in the Swartland region of South Africa, firmly believing that the Granite and Schist-based terroirs and old vineyards had the potential to produce truly great wine. The first vintage from their boutique winery was in 2008 and, in this short time, they have become internationally recognised as one of the top producers in South Africa.
Their aim is to bottle wines that are a true expression of the Swartland. All steps of their winemaking process are taken with this aim in mind and they pay the highest possible attention to detail in everything they do. A natural, minimalist approach is followed in the vineyards and cellar. Their vineyards are farmed sustainably and in the cellar, apart from minimal amounts of sulphur, nothing is added to, or removed from their wines.
Chris studied winemaking at Stellenbosch University after which he took a position starting up a boutique organic winery in Tulbagh. He also did stints at de Trafford and Rustenberg wineries in South Africa and worked harvests at top wineries in Côte Rotie, Bandol, the Languedoc, Roussillon and California. After studying Viticulture and Oenology at UC Davis, Andrea completed a few harvests in the Napa Valley, then Stellenbosch and then Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where she met Chris at a wine festival. Andrea’s love for South African wine (and Chris) brought her back to South Africa where they learnt that their compatibility extended into the vineyards and cellar.
Grapes were sourced from six vineyards on three different soil types - Schist, decomposted Granite and Ironstone. The yield is 24-33 hl/ha. Grapes are crushed and de-stemmed to the tank and between five and 25% whole bunches are added. The must is initially pigeaged once a day. After about four 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 30 degrees centigrade. Total maceration is generally between three six weeks, also depending on tannin development. The wine is then drained and pressed into the 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 unfiltered and unfined after 11 months in barrel, and 12 months blended in tank.
"This juicy blend of Southern Rhône varieties has a perfumed nose of violets, spice and purple fruit. The medium to full bodied, food-friendly palate is finely textured with firm but approachable tannins and a fresh, energizing finish. It is a versatile food-matching wine and would be excellent with dishes such as pork belly that need wine with a good acidity to cut through the richness."