Swartland-based Mullineux is one of the most respected of the new wave of South African wine estates, and in the 2012 Platter Guide they achieved a remarkable clean sweep of three out of three five star wines.
Last year they added two more wines to their portfolio: a pair of high-end Syrahs named ‘Granite’ and ‘Schist’. This is a brilliant idea, because it gives an insight into the role terroir in shaping wine. For a wine geek like me, it’s interesting to see how the same grape, handled the same way, makes different wines grown in vineyards with different soil types and exposures.
‘Granite’ is from from a 14 year old vineyard on the Paardeberg with soils that are sandy granitic with a thick layer of clay. Because of the clay, the vines always have good moisture levels, leading to bigger berries with thinner skins, and which enjoy more shade from the larger canopies. This leads to fresh, aromatic wines with some subtle green characters.
‘Schist’ comes from a 15 year old vineyard on a steep east-facing slope (at Kloovenburg) that produces smaller berries with thicker skins, making a more masculine style of wine. Both wines were made with 100% stems, and 50% new wood. Two 500 litre barrels of each wine were made, which equates to 100 cases of each. They’re not cheap: both are available from Berry Bros & Rudd in the UK for £59 a bottle.
Mullineux Granite Syrah 2010 Swartland, South Africa
Sweet aromatic black cherry fruit nose with some meaty overtones. The palate is fresh, lively and spicy with meaty berry fruits. It’s quite rich yet fresh at the same time, with some lighter mineral notes in the mix. Lovely freshness, precision and perfume, with good acidity. 94/100
Mullineux Schist Syrah 2010 Swartland, South Africa
Dense, brooding and rich with some meatiness to the black fruits nose. The palate is rich, bold and intense with lovely black fruits and a fine spicy finish. Nice density and structure here. Meaty, spicy, dense. 93/100