In 2007, after learning the ropes in some of the world's most iconic wine regions, Chris and Andrea Mullineux set up what is now indisputably one of the greatest of all South African wine estates. Mullineux has won accolade after accolade for its wines, especially those from the Single Terroir series, which are lavished with unbelievable care to create the truest expression of the Swartland vineyards they originate from.
The 'Schist' Syrah is the most structured of the series - Swartland's impeccable answer to Côte-Rôtie. The grapes are sustainably grown on a micro-parcel of shale and schist-based soils at Roundstone, the Mullineux farm on the Kasteelberg. They were hand-harvested in whole bunches, then chilled and added to 500L French oak barrels, where they were ever so gently crushed underfoot. Fermentation was wild, using native yeasts. Ageing lasted a total of 30 months: 21 in large oak barrels; nine in bottle. SO2 use was minimal throughout.
The varietal purity of Syrah shimmers through in the final wine. The nose is a medley of perfumed dark fruits and black pepper spice. In the mouth, it's full-bodied and developing a stylish savoury, meaty character. The structure, all fine-grained tannins and freshening acidity, holds everything in check beautifully.
Seriously good Schist now, but will continue to reveal new delights over the next decade.