These wines are made at Leeu Estates in Franschhoek, which was founded by Analjit Singh. The partnership with Chris and Andrea Mullineux started in 2013 when Analjit, who had visited South Africa for the first time in 2010 for the FIFA World Cup, bought into Mullineux. Chris and Andrea were brought in as winemakers at Leeu Estates, enabling them to work with fruit from Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and other regions beyond Swartland. “Rosa Kruger, our viticulturalist, had for years been enthusing to us about various parcels of fruit, but as they were outside the Swartland, we couldn’t use them in Mullineux,” explains Chris.
Rosa Kruger, named ‘the queen of the Cape’s old vines’ by Tim Atkin MW, has been almost single-handedly responsible for finding and saving many of the Cape’s most venerable vineyards. Rosa also works with Fairview in Paarl and Gabriëlskloof in Walker Bay, but lives in Riebeek-Kasteel in Swartland, so is a neighbour of Chris and Andrea. They were keen to work with old-vine fruit, so were excited when Rosa pointed them in the direction of two of the oldest registered red wine vineyards in South Africa, both with dry farmed Cinsault bush vines. The ‘Basson’ vineyard was planted in 1900 (during the Boer War) near Wellington on deep sandy alluvial soils, while the ‘Lötter’ vineyard was planted in 1932 on the lower eastern slopes of the Franschhoek mountains. “We wanted to tap into the heritage of the great Cape wines of the 1950s and 1960s, and retain their best parts but make them in a modern, non-interventionist manner” says Chris. Both the Wellington Old Vines Basson Cinsault and Franschhoek Old Vines Lötter Cinsault are 100% whole bunch fermented, which gives them lifted aromas and tannins that drive the fruit through the palate. They are, quite simply, masterpieces.
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