Malcolm Jolley finds an extraordinary South African wine for just under $20.
Andrea Mullineux is a young South African winemaker with a growing reputation for making beautiful wines. The Californian native moved to the Swartland region, about an hour northwest of Cape Town, with her husband Chris (a native South African), to make wine from the region’s old stock bush vines and help found the Swartland Independent Producers group of cutting edge vintners. Mullineux was in Toronto recently and led a group of sommeleirs and wine journalists through a Wines of South Africa sponsored tasting of her Syrah and Chenin Blanc top wines, as well as a few other Swartland producers, like A. A. Badenhorst. They showed very well, and watch GFR for Jamie’s interview with her at the event, coming soon.
After the tasting, we sat for lunch, and some new wines appeared courtesy of her importing agent, Nicholas Pearce, including the 2014 Kloof Street Swartland Rouge. This wine proved popular at the table, ever more so when we discovered the price: $19.95 on the LCBO’s Vintages shelves.
As a Swartland Independent, Mullineux is dedicated to making wines of terroir, that express the scrubby dry land she’s made her home. The Kloof Street is Syrah dominated blend of Mediterranean grapes (86% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 4% Carignan, 2% Mourvedre, 2% Tinta Barocca, 1% Cinsault). But while this wine has many echoes of the South of France, underneath its black fruit and violet notes is a soft smokiness that’s the Western Cape’s answer to garrigue: the fynbos. The Kloof Street is a remarkably elegant wine. It’s a “second wine”, considerably cheaper than her other ranges, but it might show Mullineux’s talent as a wine maker as well as anything else she makes. There is enough lightness to it have with dinner, and then enough fruit and flavour to keep sipping well after dessert. It’s perfect for a small dinner party; just some good friends coming over. And at $19.95 it’s one of the better values I’ve tasted to come through the Vintages program and well worth trying. Click here to find a store stocking it near you.