The wine studio at Leeu Estates in Franschhoek opened on 15 June and offers two different tastings of Mullineux and Leeu wines. This is a superb opportunity for wine lovers to taste some of South Africa’s most highly acclaimed wines from a winery that has twice been nominated as Platter’s Winery of the Year.
Indian businessman Analjit Singh fell in love with Franschhoek when he visited South Africa during the Soccer world cup in 2010. He was so drawn to this part of the Cape that he went on to purchase three adjoining properties in Franschhoek and developed what is now Leeu Estates.
His love for wine also led to his partnership with Chris and Andrea Mullineux, who had already established a name for themselves as one of South Africa’s top winemaking duos based in the Swartland and creating award-winning wines that expressed the terroir of the area.
I recently popped into the wine studio to experience their masters tasting of their terroir specific premium wines. These wines are made from vineyards sourced in the Swartland, characterised by ancient soils and pockets of very old vineyards. The Swartland soils are shale and schist, granite or iron-based soils that each offer unique growing conditions for a vineyard and impart very distinct characteristics to the final product, which is showcased in their Single terroir range.
The Mullineux Granite Chenin 2014, balanced acidity and fruit purity. Sourced from 2 pockets of Chenin (35–39 years old) planted in the shale/schist soils of the Kasteelberg.
The Mullineux Quartz Chenin 2014, creamy palate with a fresh citrus finish. Sourced from 2 parcels of dry farmed bush vine (38–42 years old) from the granite soils of the Paardeberg.
Mullineux Schist Syrah 2013 Elegant and savory. Sourced from a 17-year-old shale and schist vineyard at Roundstone farm on the Kasteelberg.
Mullineux Straw wine 2015. Honey, marmalade and dried fruit and nuts. Chenin harvested at normal ripeness, then dried outside until half raisined and matured in old French barrels.
The Mullineuxs are also members of the Swartland Independent, a group of like-minded winegrowers whose aim is to produce wines that express the DNA of the Swartland. Part of this means using varietals such as Chenin and Syrah that are best suited to the climatic and soil conditions of the Swartland. They support growers who use sustainable farming practices and use a natural and minimalistic approach in the vineyard and cellar. For example, nothing is removed or added to the wines, and ageing in new wood is minimal.
The attention to detail in creating the wines is mirrored by the professional experience one receives at the wine studio. From the car park, one is escorted to the wine studio, where Lizzie and her team of wine professionals welcome you with smiles to the tastefully decorated inviting space.
Tastings are intimate, for small groups and on an appointment-only basis. Wines are produced in limited quantities and may not all be available to taste at the time of your visit. New vineyards have now also been planted at the Leeu Estates.