Exploring Swartland Terroir Through Chenin with Andrea & Chris Mullineux

Mullineux 1

Skurnik Wines will be going live on Instagram with Andrea Mullineux on Tuesday, June 23rd to discuss her dry-farmed, terroir-focused examples of Chenin Blanc from the Swartland region of South Africa. While Chenin Blanc is the country’s most-widely planted grape variety, the sun-drenched vineyards of this region produce an expression of the grape that is wholly different stylistically from even its South African counterparts in Stellenbosch or Hemel-en-Aarde.

As luck would have it, Andrea and her husband Chris Mullineux have just recorded virtual tasting notes for each of their wines while at home in South Africa during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Each video highlights the vineyards and soils in the wine, the philosophy behind the winemaking process, and basic tasting notes to consider once you have their bottle in your hands!

Kloof Street Chenin Blanc ‘Swartland’ 2019

Chenin Blanc 'Swartland', Kloof StreetKloof Street is an entry point to the Swartland through the lens of Chenin Blanc and Rhône red varieties. This brand is grown and produced by the Mullineux family in order to bring fun, fresh, and fruit-forward South African wine to wine lovers everywhere.

  • 100% Chenin Blanc
  • Sourced from three sustainably farmed vineyard sites (38+ years old)
  • Grown on a mix of stony Schist and Shale soils, in addition to decomposed Granite
  • Whole-bunched pressed with minimal sulfur added
  • Fermented with native yeasts in both stainless tank (85%) and older French oak (15%)

 

Mullineux Old Vines White ‘Swartland’ 2018

Old Vines White 'Swartland', Mullineux

The Swartland is blessed with an abundance of old vine Chenin and Mullineux uses this as the backbone of their white blend. Several small parcels of Mediterranean varieties are added for complexity, balance and aromatic lift.

The grapes come from vineyard parcels in different parts of the Swartland:  the stony Shale and Schist based soils of the Kasteelberg,  the decomposed Granite of the Paardeberg and the rolling, iron-rich hills west of Malmesbury.

  • 69% Chenin Blanc, 12% Clairette Blanche, 9% Grenache Blanc, 7% Viognier, 3% Semillon Gris
  • Sourced from 7 sustainably farmed vineyards across the Swartland’s varied terroirs
  • Fermentation begins with native yeasts in barrel and left on lees until spring during which malolactic fermentation is completed
  • Aged for 9 months in 3rd and 4th fill French oak 500L barrels and one new 2000L Foudre

 

Mullineux Chenin Blanc ‘Quartz’ 2018

Chenin Blanc 'Quartz', Mullineux

Grapes for the Quartz Chenin come from a single parcel – “Leliefontein” – of 37+ year old Chenin Blanc planted in a quartz kloof on the Kasteelberg.  This parcel of Chenin gives the best expression of the quartz terroir on the Kasteelberg – fresh minerality.

  • 100% Chenin Blanc
  • Fermentation begins with native yeasts in barrel and then left on lees until spring during which malolactic fermentation is completed
  • 11 months of aging in 3rd and 4th fill French oak barrels

Mullineux Chenin Blanc ‘Granite’ 2018

Chenin Blanc 'Granite', Mullineux 1

Grapes for the Granite Chenin were sourced from two parcels of sustainably, dry-farmed 42 plus-year-old Chenin Blanc bush vines planted in the decomposed Granite soils of the Paardeberg.  These very deep decomposed Granite soils tend to produce wines with great acidity and a flinty, stony aromatic profile.

  • 100% Chenin Blanc
  • Fermentation begins with native yeasts in barrel and then left on lees until spring during which malolactic fermentation is completed
  • 11 months of aging in 3rd and 4th fill French oak barrels

 

 

 

Mullineux Straw Wine 2018

Straw Wine, Mullineux 1

The secret to Mullineux’s Straw Wine is harvesting Chenin grapes at normal ripeness levels to capture a healthy acidity. The grapes are dried outside in the shade until they are half raisined, concentrating flavours, acidity and sugar into a super intense, but balanced treat.

  • Sourced from two Chenin parcels on the stony Shale and Schist based soils of the Kasteelberg and one parcel of 40+ year-old dry land, bush vine Chenin in the decomposed Granite of the Paardeberg
  • Hand-harvested at normal ripeness level of 23° Brix, then left to dry in the shade outdoors (2-4 weeks)
  • Grapes are whole-bunch pressed and racked to old 225L barrels  which are all treated differently – some are not topped, but allowed to oxidize slow whereas others are topped every few months, but left without sulfur, and the remaining barrels are dosed with sulfur and topped every couple of months
  • Bottle unfined and unfiltered after 12 months in barrel

 


TOMORROW – PROFILES OF CHENIN WITH ANDREA MULLINEUX

If you’re interested in learning more about the Andrea Mullineux’s approach to Chenin Blanc or the revolution in Swartland winemaking that she helped to catalyze, please watch along with us tomorrow, June 23rd, on Instagram.


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