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Leeu Passant
Franschhoek, S.Africa

Published today, Neal Martin's South African report confirms what I've been tasting recently. This is a wine producing nation that is very much in the ascendant. Martin names Leeu Passant as one of 'the Cape’s top names' and he is spot on. These are the the guys behind Mullineux, whose wines are already sought-after worldwide. 

I can wholeheartedly recommend each and every one of these but you're going to have to be quick, now the secret is out.

2018 Stellenbosch Chardonnay

30 Bot @ £215 per 6 Bot Case, in bond (£274.07 duty & VAT paid)
4 Mag @ £300 per 4 Mag Case, in bond (£381.42 duty & VAT paid)

The 2018 Chardonnay has a very attractive bouquet with detailed scents of dried honey, yellow plum and touches of mango and beeswax. I could nose this all day! The palate is fresh and vibrant on the entry, sporting gorgeous notes of orange peel and mango, and just a touch of spice toward the finish, which has a subtle resinous quality. Complex and engaging, this is a marvelous Chardonnay from Mr. and Mrs. Mullineux. 2022-2038
95 points Neal Martin, Vinous   

2017 Stellenbosch Dry Red Wine

56% Cabernet Sauvignon , 26% Cinsault, 18% Cabernet Franc

30 Bot @ £315 per 6 Bot Case, in bond (£394.07 duty & VAT paid)
4 Mag @ £330 per 4 Mag Case, in bond (£417.42 duty & VAT paid)

The 2017 Dry Red Wine offers fragrant, open-knit scents of crushed strawberry, maraschino cherries, orange pith and a background scent of potpourri, cohering with aeration. The palate has a well balanced, quite fleshy opening and silky-smooth red fruit. More tender than expected, with a caressing, almost Grenache-like finish. Delicious. 2022-2036
93 points Neal Martin, Vinous    

2018 Old Vines `Lötter` Franschhoek Cinsault

24 Bot @ £215 per 6 Bot Case, in bond (£274.07 duty & VAT paid)

The 2018 Old Vines Lötter Cinsault has a gorgeous bouquet of lifted red cherries, crushed strawberry and a touch of shoe leather, all very well defined and focused. The palate is well balanced with a lightly spiced entry, a fine bead of acidity and a caressing texture. Chinese five-spice and notes of sage appear toward the complex finish. This is an excellent Cinsault from Andrea and Chris Mullineux. 2021-2035
93 points Neal Martin, Vinous

2017 Old Vines `Basson` Wellington Cinsault

18 Bot @ £215 per 6 Bot Case, in bond (£274.07 duty & VAT paid)

The 2017 Old Vines Basson Cinsault is fuller and riper on the nose compared to the Lötter Cinsault, featuring exuberant wild strawberry, raspberry preserve, gingerbread and dill aromas, all very well defined and brimming with energy. The palate is medium-bodied with a fleshy opening, hints of marmalade and orange peel infusing the red fruit, and just the right amount of piquancy toward the finish. There is something "old school" about this Cinsault. Cerebral. 2022-2038
95 points Neal Martin, Vinous

2018 Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon

30 Bot @ £135 per 6 Bot Case, in bond (£178.07 duty & VAT paid)

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon has a fragrant bouquet of dark berry fruit, Earl Grey and light wet clayey aromas, quite complex and engaging. The palate is very well defined and classic in style, with a lightly spiced opening and white pepper and sage developing later. There is just the right amount of dryness toward the finish to get the saliva flowing. Classy. 2022-2038
93 points Neal Martin, Vinous

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.

The Dry Red Wine also celebrates the Cape’s heritage. With few exceptions, the great wines of the 1950s and 1960s were red blends, usually based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsault. This wine is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Cinsault and 18% Cabernet Franc from vineyards in Stellenbosch, Wellington and Franschhoek. The grapes are 50% whole bunch fermented to give the wine its lovely aromatic dimension and grainy tannins, while its marked freshness is preserved during 12 months’ ageing in 500-litre French oak barrels (30% new), then a further eight months in 2000-litre foudres after blending.

The fruit for the Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from vineyards on the cool slopes of the Helderberg Mountain and Polkadraai Hills. The grapes are fully destemmed then fermented with indigenous yeasts, prior to ageing in 500-litre barrels for 20 months. The wine has the lovely tobacco leaf aromas of Cabernet grown on cooler slopes, with ripe, grainy tannins nicely balanced by good acidity on the finish. The Stellenbosch Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in the deep loam-rich soils of the strongly maritime influenced Helderberg Mountain. The fruit is hand-picked, whole bunch pressed, and barrel fermented (30% new oak) with indigenous yeasts, after which the wine is aged for 18 months. It is rich, intense, mealy and smoky, with lovely balance and length.



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