Mullineux Family Wines was established in 2007 by Chris and Andrea Mullineux. Within a short time the winery established itself as one of South Africa’s celebrated wine brands, both locally and internationally. In 2013 Analjit Singh joined forces with Chris and Andrea and the company was renamed Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines. In 2017 Chris & Andrea were Tim Atkin’s South African Winemakers of the Year.
Chris and Andrea identified a group of vineyards in interesting parts of the Swartland region which are mostly located around the shale- and schist-based Riebeek Kasteel mountains and the granite-based Paardeberg mountain. Vineyards are planted with grapes varieties which are mostly Mediterranean in origin and ideally suited to the environment. The Swartland is also perfectly suited to natural methods of farming with very low summer rainfall and evening breezes off the Atlantic Ocean. Vineyards are often planted amongst the natual Renosterveld and fynbos which provide refuge for predators of vineyard pests and help reduce the spread of disease. Weeds struggle to establish themselves and spread, making it easier to control them without the need for herbicides.
The grapes for this Mullineux Straw Wine came from one parcel of 38-year-old Chenin on the stony shale- and schist-based soils of the Kasteelberg and one parcel of more than forty-year-old dry land bush vine Chenin in the decomposed granite of the Paardeberg.
After harvesting the grapes were left to dry in the shade outdoors for two to four weeks. This allowed moisture to evaporate naturally from the berries, concentrating sugars, acids and flavour. When the grapes were half way to becoming raisins they were crushed and pressed whole bunch, and racked to old 225 litre barrels. A little sulphur was added to inhibit bacteria but allow the natural yeast to ferment. Fermentation took six months and stopped naturally when the yeast could not ferment further. The barrels were treated differently: some were not topped, but allowed to oxidize slowly, to build complexity. Some were topped every few months, but left without sulphur, and the remaining barrels were dosed with sulphur and topped every couple of months to maintain their purity and fruit. After 12 months the barrels were racked, blended and bottled unfiltered and unfined.