Tasting Note: This very aromatic Syrah has hints of black pepper, dark berries and herbs and a bloody, earthy character on the nose. The palate is full-bodied with velvety but structured tannins and a balanced natural acidity. The finish is fresh, long and supple. Best served at 16 to 18 °C, this wine will greatly benefit from decanting when drunk within the first 3 to 5 years after bottling.
Andrea Mullineux told me that their debut 2012 Mullineux Iron Syrah has been the hardest cru to fine-tune over the years. Indeed, it has been trialed since 2005 but never bottled...until now. "We have been working hard to perfect the acidity here and it's been important to get life into the soil, getting the vineyard healthy, so that it can be picked with good acidity. Because it is dry farmed, in a space of three days, it can god from 22 to 26 Brix – so picking decision is critical," she said. It has a subtle marine influence coming through on the nose with macerated black cherries, boysenberry jam and touches of iodine. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, quite grainy tannins, very nicely poised with touches of fig and marmalade towards the slightly saline finish. This is a strong debut to form the trio of Syrah single "terroir" offerings.
"The 2013 Iron Syrah has a roundness and softness on the nose that almost belies its complexity - red berry fruit, red peppercorns, rooibos and undergrowth scents that are very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannin, wonderfully savory and quite gamey, and beautifully balanced with impressive volume and sustain on the finish that you would have difficult distinguishing from a top Côte-Rôtie. This is an excellent Syrah, my only reservation being that there is a touch of heat on the finish. - Neal Martin"
- The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com, November 2015), 93 pts
"Similar to the Schist Syrah in its weight and meatiness, the Iron Syrah offers a more elegant, immediate appeal. Dark red plum, smoked meat, and savory herbs are seamlessly integrated on a lush, juicy and firmly structured palate, finishing very very long."
- iwinereview.com (January 2016), 95 pts
Sweet, savory aromas lead the way, sort of a mineral-laden black fruit---dark berries and plums. Smoke, dried herbs, violet, meat, wet stones and a hint of ironstone complete the package. It penetrates yet is a broad fragrant expression. I've always felt the aromatic range of this wine has its foundation in the four clones we use.
The black fruits continue on the palate, with black cherry, dark plum and spices echoing the aroma. While it's rich, almost luxurious, there's a tannic foundation and a structured acidity. Floral and earthy, the dried herbs and stones emerge here too, along with tobacco, thyme and lavender. This is a food-lover's Syrah, with weight, brightness and dimension.
(Clones 174, 383, 99 and Phelps) Vineyards: Ciel du Cheval Ranch at the End of the Road Classic Red Mountain character defines the Syrah La Côte Rousse, despite being the product of a cooler vintage. The warm site vineyards, Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road accumulated more heat than our other sites and ripened the four Syrah clones to a greater extent; we’ve never seen Red Mountain deliver less than full physiological maturity, every vintage. Nevertheless this vintage retains a vibrancy and energy that isn’t often found on Red Mountain.
From the hot, windswept slopes of Red Mountain, the 2014 Syrah la Cote Rousse is a serious, tight, backwards effort that won’t be for those looking for instant gratification. Possessing classic Red Mountain red and black fruits, dried earth, pepper, dried spice and black olive characteristics, it’s full-bodied, beautifully textured, has flat out awesome purity and impeccable balance. Give it 4-5 years of cellaring and drink it over the following decade or so.
While there's a long history of terrific wines from this estate, I think they've hit another level in the past few vintages, and these latest releases show a purity, elegance and textural quality not found in early bottlings. I'm sure this is in part due to the creation of a second wine, and even a stricter selection for all of the top cuvees. In short, don't miss a chance to try these wines. 96 Points Wine Advocate
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah
La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.
An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.
2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.
"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts
This is an intense wine with a bright scarlet colour. Pure grapey aromas are complimented by red spices with some herbal and lavender notes. The palate is full and juicy, packed with ripe fruit and spice. The tight structure gives the wine a succulent finish with lingering flavours of anise, liquorice and a mineral saltiness. Drink 2013-2023.
"Three different sites on the Keermont farm - Steepside, Topside and Sweetwater - supply grapes for this intense, yet subtly oaked Syrah. Scented, spicy and refined, it has classic pepper grinder notes, sweet red fruit and a hint of black olive. 2018-24"
- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2017 Special Report), 94 pts
The epitome of cool climate Syrah. Intense and inviting, earthy, peaty but with concentrated fruit flavors of plums, blackberries, blueberries and black cherry all mixed together. Savory yet sweet, this wine just lingers on the palate. Paired with a rich lamb stew, smoked meats or your favorite Fall holiday meal, this wine will shine and develop beautifully for the next 5-7 years.
Grenache speaks loudly in the Bésoleil with notes of pomegranate, red raspberry, and strawberry leaf. The Counoise and Cinsualt bring bing cherry fruit and blueberry notes to the table, complicated by pepper and garrique. Mourvedre donates a wild meatiness to the blend, and a purple hue. Syrah rounds things out, adding texture, and flesh to the palate.
"Always an enjoyable, outstanding effort, the 2014 Grenache Besoleil offers classic notes of cherries, herbes de Provence, red plums and pepper in a fine, elegant, medium to full-bodied style. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 91 pts
Medium red. Sexy, high-toned red cherry and red berry aromas showcase the wine's Grenache component (but this vintage features the lowest percentage to date of this variety). Bright, ripe raspberry and cherry flavors are complicated by smoky and peppery nuances. A very graceful red blend with sweet tannins and excellent persistence.
-- Stephen Tanzer 91 Points
Mullineux Swartland Syrah is 100 percent Syrah
Hand picked grapes are cooled in our cold room, where after they are crushed and destemmed to tank, and between 20 to 50% whole bunches are added. 25ppm SO2 is added, and as with all our wines, no other additions are made. The must is initially pigeaged once a day. After about 4 days, fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts, and the wine is pigeaged once or twice a day, depending on extract and tannin development. Temperatures are not allowed to exceed 30 degrees centigrade. Fermentation lasts from 7 to 10 days, and after fermentation, two to four weeks (also depending on tannin development) skin contact is given. The wine is then drained and pressed to barrel for malolactic fermentation and maturation. The different parcels are racked in Spring to blend the wine, which is then returned to barrel and bottled unfiltered and unfined after 11 months in barrel. Please decant (or give time!) when drunk young.
11 months, French oak 225L & 500L barrels, and 2000L Foudre. 15% new wood in total.
Black pepper, crushed ripe berry, and tobacco aromas linger on the nose. This juice is every bit of full-bodied on the palate. Well integrated tannin gives the wine a silky texture. Flavors of blackberry, herb, and spice layer throughout and into the long silky finish. This is a big wine that can take on another 10+ years of age and will need some serious decanting if consumed early. 30 minutes of decanting will allow the wine to open beautifully.
"Since its first vintage in 2008, the Mullineux’s Syrah has established itself as one of the most reliable reds in the Cape, the new “Graillot Crozes”, as I like to think of it. Sourced from nine vineyards on three different soil types, with 100% whole bunches, it’s a textbook Syrah: spicy, sappy and wonderfully aromatic. Drink: 2016-21.”
-93 points Tim Atkin, MW
The Mullineux Family Winery Estate
This is a small, highly focused family winery producing a select family of hand-crafted wines from the granite and shale based terroirs of the Swartland Region of South Africa.
Chris was born in Cape Town, raised in Johannesburg, and introduced to the world of wine while studying accountancy at the University of Stellenbosch. After braving his way through accounting, he enrolled into winemaking for a second degree, and on graduating took a position starting up a boutique organic winery in Tulbagh, where he was in charge of the vineyards and cellar for 5 very enjoyable years. In addition to stints at de Trafford and Rustenberg wineries in South Africa, Chris has also worked harvests at top wineries in Cote Rotie, Bandol, the Languedoc, Roussillon, and California. Over the years Chris has had good exposure to the people, vineyards and wines of the Swartland. This has lead to a growing love for, and firm belief in the region, and he looks forward to many creative and hard working vintages in this region with his family.
Andrea developed her passion for wine at the family dinner table, growing up in San Francisco. After studying Viticulture and Oenology at UC Davis and completing a handful of harvests in the Napa Valley, Andrea decided to broaden her winemaking knowledge overseas. After a harvest in Stellenbosch, she went on to work in Chateauneuf and, on the same trip, met Chris at a wine festival in Champagne! Andrea's love for South African wine (and Chris) brought her back to South Africa where they learnt that their compatibility extended into the vineyards and cellar. When Andrea is not hard at work in the cellar, her creative energies flow into the kitchen where she loves cooking up a storm, glass of wine in hand.
The Mullineux Family Winery Vineyards
Very low summer rainfall coupled with afternoon and evening breezes off the Atlantic Ocean result in low disease pressure. Vineyards are often planted in amongst the natural rhenoster veldt and fynbos, which provide refuge for predators of vineyard pests, and help reduce the spread of disease. Weeds struggle to establish themselves and spread, making it easier to control them without the need of herbicides.
Chris and Andrea have put together a group vineyards in the most interesting parts of the Swartland, which are mostly found around the shale and schist based Riebeek Kasteel Mountain, and the granite based Paardeberg mountain.
Lammershoek - The deep white, granitic soils on Lammershoek produce wines that are exceptionally pure, with a granitic perfume that shines through in red and white varieties.
Kasteelsig - The soils, found on the rolling hills north of Malmesbury, are a deep combination of red gravel and iron, and produce dark, concentrated wines that are the flesh of our blends.
Kloovenburg - The highly varied row directions and aspects bring much complexity to wines, and the high shale content of the soils gives serious structure, and brings an earthy spicy character to syrah planted in them.
Mountain View - The soils are shale based, which drain easily, reducing vigor and providing grapes of perfume, freshness and structure.
The vineyards are planted with grape varieties (which are mostly Mediterranean in origin) that are ideally suited to the environment, and are farmed sustainably and in harmony with their surroundings: Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Viognier.
Dark and chocolate, spiced with pretty notes of allspice and clove, this wine is round and rich, bursting with ripe berries, combined with an earthy complexity and a velvety finish.
Made from 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc
The wine spent 22 months on 75% new French oak with the remaining 25% second vintage French oak. Select barrels from the best forests of Taransaud, Boutes, Quintessance, and Vicard cooperages.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Cabernet Franc (30%) and Merlot, this wine seems a little green out of the gate, with aromas of herbs, cocoa, vanilla, black licorice, woodspice and black fruit. The fruit flavors display the warmth of this region, with the tannins providing some heft, stretching out over time. - Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
Tamarack Cellars’ 2011 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Reserve is an outstanding blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 29% Cabernet Franc that spent 22 months (each variety is kept separate until 12 months after the harvest) in 50% new and 50% once-used French oak. Classically styled, with lots of smoke tobacco, licorice and blackcurrant aromas and flavors, it has everything in the right place, in the right proportions, and is incredibly enjoyable to drink. Enjoy this medium to full-bodied, moderately tannic, balanced beauty over the coming decade, although it will probably last longer. - Robert Parker Wine Advocate 91 Points
Tamarack Firehouse Red is 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah, 22% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, 3% Sangiovese, 2% Grenache, 2% Cinsault 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Counoise, 1% Mourvèdre and 1% Carmenere.
Deceptively sweet aromas of strawberries, raspberries and rose petals. The flavors are dark, rich, lusciously mouthwatering, with cherries, boysenberries, tart plum skins, hints of leather, sweet pipe tobacco, and coffee beans. The tannins are firm, but not a bit edgy and the finish lingers with just a touch of anise. A truly lovely vintage.