Swartland, Western Cape. It is an obvious, yet largely unspoken fact, that in order for vines to produce unique and even, exquisite fruit, they need to suffer.
A vine that receives plenty of sunlight, water and nutrients will never establish a complex root system to forage for nutrients that will imbue it with a taste of its terroir; it will grow huge, fat grapes of which the flavour will be diluted by all the water it has so gluttonously gobbled up; wine from these grapes will be dull and uninspiring. The Swartland slopes, Afrikaans meaning ‘Blackland’ (so named for the endemic Rhinoceros Bush that dots the landscape and turns black after the rains), is just the setting for the exquisite struggle that is the business of making wine. Dry mostly unirrigated land, a variety of soil types, cooling breezes from the Atlantic ocean and a number of old bushvine planted throughout, offer the perfect conditions to produce truly unique, terroir-specific wines.
Chris and Andrea Mullineux of Mullineux Family Wines are names we have come to associate with Swartland wines. If not the Swartland, then Platter’s ‘Winery of the Year’, this year and in 2014. If not that, then ‘Winemaker of the Year’ as Andrea has recently been nominated for the title by Wine Enthusiast. If not THAT, then Tim Atkin has yet again named Mullineux a First Growth for the fourth time in a row in his Special South African Report and entrusted seven of their wines with a 90 + rating. If not THAT, well then we suggest beer?
The Mullineux’s commend their success to the Swartland terroir, the cultivation of old bush vine and their focus on producing expressions of Syrah and Chenin blanc. The Schist, Granite and Quartz selections are terroir-specific wines, only made during exceptional vintages from specific sites on their Roundstone farm and chosen old vines. It is a rare thing when you happen upon an exceptional vintage, given all the elements that need to come together to make it so. By all accounts, this latest vintage is one for the cellar and we invite you to make your own selection.