As you all know, Chenin Blanc is officially one of the two coolest white grape varieties, along with Riesling. Chenin’s attributes are its good acidity, its structure, its ageability, its flexibility and, of course, its terroir transparency. It’s a grape that is good at interpreting soils, and making wines that are different depending on the soil type. It’s also not an obvious grape variety. It’s one for the geeks.
So I was delighted to be able to try these two soil-type specific wines from Swartland stars Mullineux. For a few vintages now they have released single soil type Syrahs – Granite and Schist. They emphasize that these are not necessarily better wines than their Syrah (which is much cheaper), but rather they are for those who are interested in seeing what single terroirs produce. Now these Syrahs have been joined by Quartz and Schist, two Chenin Blancs. They’re both brilliant. Thanks to Udo, the NL importer, for bringing these to dinner.
Mullineux Quartz Chenin Blanc 2013 Swartland, South Africa
First vintage of this wine, just 100 cases made, 13% alcohol. Lovely delicate citrus and pear fruit with some toasty hints. Very fresh, open texture with a delicate, fine personality. This shows real finesse: it’s delicate with good acidity, and it’s brighter than the schist. 93/100
Mullineux Schist Chenin Blanc 2013 Swartland, South Africa
Second vintage of this, 100 cases, 13.5% alcohol. There’s some richness here: textured, pure and open with nice pear and melon fruit. This has a restrained sort of richness with finesse and purity. It’s a bit richer than the quartz, but both these wines have great potential. 94/100
These are able in the UK from www.vincisive.co.uk and perhaps also from Berry Bros & Rudd (they had some in their offer, but this is probably sold out now)
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com