Any new wine from Chris and Andrea Mullineux – the Pride of Riebeek-Kasteel! – is to be welcomed. Particularly such a fine one as the white that is set to join the Syrahs from specific soil types (Schist and Granite) that were released to such acclaim last year, and are shortly to be joined by a third with the 2011 vintage: Iron.
Chris brought an open bottle round to me this afternoon while waiting to get back to Andrea, who’s in hospital just round the corner from me, following an operation on a benign but troubling growth on her oesophagus. We had it at room temperature – which, given the coolness of the room this winter’s day was just about right; this isn’t the sort of wine I like drinking too cold.
Unsurprisingly (this is a Mullineux wine after all) there’s a fine delicacy to the Schist Chenin Blanc – aromas of orange blossom perhaps (well, at least something floral with a hint of citrus to it). There is, of course, also schist-origin chenin in the Mullineux white blend, supplying some of the nervy finesse of that wine, and that is characteristic of this wine too, along with a supple light richness and amplitude. If I might be allowed a flight of fancy, I’d say it finishes lingeringly with a little nut of ripe citrus (tangerine, perhaps – something more orange than lemon or lime, anyway); a flavour that is somehow wrapped into a shape, a round, perfect shape rolling and settling smoothly in the mouth.
The terroir-chenins are also going to be augmented in vintages to come – there’s a Quartz Chenin 2013 still resting in its barrels. Meanwhile, the Schist Chenin will be released in August, along with its red counterparts. As you can see from the pic, the label (this one a proof) is similar to those, but with silver foil rather than the copper-gold used for the reds. The price, I believe, is going to be about two thirds of that of the Syrahs, making it something of a bargain, in line with so many brilliant Cape whites of the highest order of ambition.
Incidentally, another major Swartland release coming up around then (22 July to be precise) is from Sadie Family Wines (making yet more demands on an emptying bank account and a filling cellar). Sadie release 2011 Columella and Palladius, and the 2012 wines in the Old Vineyard Series. Out of the Swartland always come wonders.
Not even dinner time now, and I’ve polished off the remnants of the Schist Chenin that Chris brought; with a mental toast (and thanks!) to poor Andrea languishing there – though on her way to recovery, I’m assured, following a wholly successful operation.