Mullineux Family Wines
Exciting Swartland winery making authentic terroir-based wines


Andrea and Chris Mullineux

Mullineux Family Wines, right at the heart of the Swartland Revolution, is currently one of the most exciting producers in South Africa. The Mullineux family (pictured) is Chris and Andrea, who were previously both at Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards (which has since been renamed Fable Wines). They left in 2007, got married and moved to Riebeek Kasteel to start their own venture, with support from Keith Prothero and Peter Dart. ‘The Swartland was our only choice,’ says Chris. ‘It was a no brainer.’

They were tempted to join the new Swartland pioneers over in Paardeberg (with its predominantly granitic soils), but in the end they opted for Riebeek Kasteel, and its shale and schist.  

The Mullineux winery in Riebeek Kasteel

But they’re not just restricting themselves to just one terroir type – they are leasing vineyard blocks across the region, from a range of soils, with 7 hectares across 21 different vineyards. ‘During our time at TMV we started forays into the Swartland and learned which growers are farming well,’ says Chris. For their first few vintages they rented winery space at Reyneke, who have a shared winemaking philosophy, but they now have their own winery in the middle of Riebeek Kasteel.

The Mullineux approach, in both the vineyard and winery, is to work as naturally as possible without compromising quality. Initially, three wines were made, a white blend, a Syrah and a sweet ‘straw wine’. ‘For the white we blend several different varieties to get complexity,’ says Andrea, ‘but for the red we blend in several different parcels from three soil types: decomposed granite (freshness), schist/shale (richness) and red clay (mid-palate depth).’

A sign that Mullineux were on the right lines came in October 2011, when the results of the Platter tastings for the 2012 guide were released. Mullineux achieved the remarkable feat of three five-star wines: a clean sweep.

There’s a clear understanding of the influence of terroir here, and this was shown by the release of two high-end Syrahs in 2011: labelled 'Granite' and 'Schist' respectively. Just 100 cases of each were released, and they're superb. The Granite is from from a 14 year old vineyard on the Paardeberg with soils that are sandy with a thick layer of clay. The vines therefore always have good moisture levels, bigger berries, thinner skins and more shade. This leads to aromatic wines with some green characters. The Schist comes from a 15 year old vineyard on a steep east-facing slope 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. 


Date of tasting indicated by month/year 

Mullineux White 2008 Swartland, South Africa
4000 bottles made. This is 80% Chenin Blanc, half of which comes from the granite soils of Lammershoek, some from Adi Badenhorst, and the rest from the shale and schist of Riebeek. The granite brings freshness, the shale/schist brings more apricot and peach characters. The remaining 20% is made up of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Viognier. This is complex, fresh and herby with a subtly apricot-tinged nose. The palate is rich and full with lovely expressive herby, straw and nut notes, as well as sweet pear and apricot fruit. It has a rounded, ripe finish. 91/100 (11/09)

Mullineux White 2008 Swartland, South Africa
Deep yellow/gold colour. Sweetly aromatic with nuts and ripe apple as well as some honey. The palate shows almonds, hazelnut, peach and pear. Very rich, but with some fresh minerality underneath. An intense, complex wine, evolved but nicely so. 92/100 (04/12)

Mullineux White 2010 Swartland, South Africa
1000 cases made, 13.5% alcohol. This year it is old vine Chenin and Clairette, with some Viognier. Fresh, vibrant crystalline fruit with some grapefruit freshness and a bit of minerality, and some toasty richness. Great balance between the fresh fruit and the richers texture. Good precision. 92/100 (10/11) 

Mullineux Syrah 2008 Swartland, South Africa
20% whole clusters used. Very floral and aromatic with lovely purity and elegance to the fruit, which is both red and black. The palate has lovely pepperiness and elegance with spice and fresh cherry and plum fruit. Lovely sweetness, too. Really elegant; almost profound, with a subtle meatiness. Beautiful wine. 95/100 (11/09)

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 (10/11)

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 (10/11)

Mullineux Straw Wine 2008 Swartland, South Africa
Made with air-dried Chenin Blanc grapes. 250 cases made; 10.5% alcohol. A full bronze colour. Rich, aromatic, concentrated and very sweet, with a raisiny, spicy edge to the luscious apricot and peach fruit. Lovely high acidity counters the intense sweetness. Complex, rich and thought-provoking. 93/100 (11/09)

Mullineux Straw Wine 2010 Swartland, South Africa
350 g/litre sugar, 8% alcohol. Powerful, viscous and sweet with intense spicy, honeyed, crystalline fruits. Massive concentration with some raisin notes. Remarkable wine. 94/100 (10/11)

Part 1: Dinner at Callie's on the Porseleinberg
Part 2: Lammershoek  
Part 3: Photos of Lammershoek
Part 4: Intellego

Part 5: Testalonga
Part 6: Eben Sadie and a Columella vertical tasting
Part 7: Mullineux Family Wines

Part 1, Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards
Part 2, Cape Point Vineyards
Part 3, AA Badenhorst Family Wines
Part 4, Eben Sadie: Sadie Family Wines and Sequillo Cellars
Part 5, Paul Kretzel of Lammershoek
Part 6, Mullineux Family Wines
Part 7, Vondeling
Part 8, Scali
Part 9, Sterhuis
Part 10, Raats
Part 11, Migliarina
Part 12, Charles Back and Fairview
Part 13, Hermit on the Hill
Part 14, Klein Constantia
Part 15, Iona, Elgin
Part 16, Paul Cluver, Elgin
Part 17, Eagles' Nest, Constantia
Part 18, Anthonij Rupert
Part 19, Oak Valley, Elgin
Part 20, Shannon, Elgin

Wines tasted as indicated  
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