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
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.
With our long history of making single site syrah's in Washington, it made sense for us to venture into the Rocks District of Milton Freewater in the Walla Walla Valley to bring you our newest syrah, "Domaine de Pierres."
The Rocks AVA produces syrah that shows a distinct character, separating it from any other site in Washington State. One thing in particular that has drawn people here is the gallet stones present throughout the valley. They are very similar to the pudding stones that are found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and can be anywhere from golf ball size, to softball size or larger. Since we purchased the vineyard in 2014 we have been tilling the earth multiple times every season to expose these rocks. The gallet stones act like a heat sink, giving a little extra push to help ripen syrah in an area with marginal heat accumulation.
In the glass, Domaine de Pierres stands out from our other syrah's because of its incredibly savory profile. Notes of roasted meat, fresh herbs, olive tapenade, tobacco and graphite are supported by dark fruit, espresso, and lavendar. The wine has a lower acidity and higher PH than our other wines, which contributes to a velvety, full bodied mouthfeel. Even in the cellar, we immediately noticed a difference in the color, aromatics and flavor that these syrah grapes were able to express.
The other big reason that we are so excited about the wine from this particular AVA, is that the history of the Rocks is happening right now! Our vineyard, “Ancient Stones,” has only been planted there since 2007, and the beginning of the Rocks as a wine growing region only really started in the 1990's. There is a lot of energy and exploration going on, and it has been a fun experience for our team to be a part of it. We still have so much to learn about this region and it is very exciting to feel like we are on the upward swing!
"This has strident peppery notes with a layer of sappy whole-cluster fragrances and complexity as well as fresh charcuterie meats, smoky notes and graphite. Red plums and blackberries lurk beneath. The palate has deep chocolate and cherry fruits. Very suave, supple tannins carry dark plums, dark chocolate and energetic freshness to the finish. Give this 2-3 years to integrate."
- James Suckling (2018), 95 pts
Keermont Estate Reserve Red Blend is made from 36% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec, 6% Syrah, 4% Petit Verdot
The Keermont Estate Reserve is the winery's flagship red blend. With this blend they aim to bring to life the nuances of both the terroir at Keermont Vineyards and the particular vintage.
Venetian red in color, this wine exudes complex aromas of ripe cherry, wild berries, and dusty 'fynbos'. The palate has an array of ripe berries, cherry sherbet, crushed herbs and spices. Elegant but firm tannin affords the wine a long dry succulent finish.
All grapes are grown on Keermont Vineyards. Most of the vineyard parcels grow on deep red clay rich soil derived from sandstone and granite and are surrounded by indigenous vegetation. They lie between 250 and 400 meters above sea level in the valley between the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountain ranges and have a variety of aspects from North East to West facing.
Small batches of grapes are specifically selected according to ripeness, harvested by hand and vinified separately. This process is carried out gently and naturally in open top fermenters using traditional methods only. This wine spent 22 months maturing in French oak barrels (20% new) before being bottled by hand without filtration
"The 2014 Estate Reserve is a blend of 37% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 12% Petit Verdot and 2% Syrah. It has an intense bouquet of black cherries, boysenberry, pressed iris petals and a touch of iodine, all very focused and seeming to just close up a little with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins framing crisp blackberry and bilberry fruit laced with licorice and sea salt. It feels very composed on the finish, yet I suspect that it might close up for a couple of years. Have a cellar handy. - Neal Martin"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (November 2019), 93 pts
Mordoree Lirac Rouge Reine des Bois equal parts Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre
Color : deep dark red, with blueish hints.
Aromas : highly fruity ( raspberry, billberry, blackberry ), floral (violet) and intense with a grilled touch ( coffee ).
Palate : melted and concentrated tannins, full bodied, very long fresh finish.
Ageing potential : 8 to 10 years
Grilled meats, sauce meats, game birds, game rabbits and semi-mature cheeses.
"The 2014 Lirac Cuvee de La Reine des Bois is an incredible effort that transcends the vintage and is easily the wine of the vintage from Lirac. Possessing fabulous purity and elegance, with medium to full-bodied richness, classic notes of crème de cassis, caramelized meats, violets and licorice, sweet tannin and a great finish, I doubt it will be the longest lived example of this cuvée, but man, hats off to the team for this killer wine in a difficult vintage! - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 227, October 28th 2016), 93 pts
Principal Memorias Red Blend is made from 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah, 15% Petit Verdot.
The image on the label represents the "spiral of life", a symbol that is found in all major ancient civilizations that represents the cycle of life and the everlasting evolution.
Memorias is a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend that includes Petit Verdot and Syrah, which was carefully crafted to achieve a perfect balance. It stands out for its great structure with soft and round tannins that will allow a complex evolution in the bottle.
Denomination of Origin: Maipo Andes Valley
63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah and 15% Petit Verdot.
Vineyard altitude: 780 meters above sea level.
Soil: Alluvial/colluvial origin, clay loam.
Climate: Sub humid Mediterranean with huge influence of the Andes Mountain.
Total Acidity: 5.94 g/L
RS: 2.0 g/L
Pirque is the highest area with vineyards in Alto Maipo. And El Principal has its vineyards in the highest area of Pirque. Memoria is a kind of second house wine and in which the winemaker Gonzalo Guzmán has been working intensely in search of greater freshness. This must be the best
- Descorchados (November 2017, 93 pts
"Gonzalo Guzman Cassanello collaborated on El Principal's wines with Patrick Léon, the longtime managing director of Bordeaux's Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, who first came to Chile in the 1990s to work on Almaviva. In the ripe 2014 vintage, they blended a relatively high proportion of syrah and petit verdot (22 and 15 percent, respectively) with cabernet sauvignon, creating an intriguing take on Pirque. Its flavors hint at ripe strawberries and darker notes of wild blackberries, the sweetness of that fruit held in a clean, light and delicate frame."
- Wine & Spirits Magazine (June 2019), 93 pts
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.
Blend: Colmant Brut Reserve NV is a blend of Pinot Noir 52%, Chardonnay 48% (Franschhoek, Robertson, Elgin, Somerset-West and Stellenbosch). 10% of the blend is made of reserve wine from the previous vintage and 12% of the base wine is barrel fermented.
Ageing: 28 months minimum on the lees at steady 13°C temperature.
Tasting: A subtle pale gold color with a very clean and elegant nose. The aroma has a gentle spicy toastiness with a lemon / yeasty perfume followed by more mature fruit. Plenty of freshness on the palate, with a good acidity which perfectly balances the yeasty depth, bready flavors and ample structure. Long smooth finish. Will develop nicely over the years.
Drinking tips: Divine as an aperitif and loyal as a party buddy, it also goes perfectly with oysters, sushis or any delicate seafood.
"The Brut Reserve (disgorged April 2018) was 10% fermented in French oak barrel and includes 20% reserve vintages. It spent 30 months on the lees. The well-defined, focused nose features bright citrus lemon and hints of baked bread. The palate is well balanced with a taut, crisp, citric entry. This is vivacious, very pretty and graced with lovely apricot hints on the finish. A superb MCC from Colmant. - Neal Martin"
- Vinous (August 28th 2018), 91 pts
"Fresh with leesy notes, a fine mousse and delicate palate of minerals and green citrus zest, this is a first class New World sparkler. It’s rich enough to enjoy on its own or with white meats. It’s a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay aged on the lees for 30 months and 25% reserve wines from earlier vintages."
-International Wine Review, 91 pts
"Disgorged February 2011, the Non-vintage Brut Reserve is a blend of 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Chardonnay based on the 2008 vintages blended with reserve wines from 2007 and 2006 (25% of the blend), aged for 30 months on the lees. It has a very fine pettillance in the glass. The nose is very well defined with crushed stone, oyster shell and the subtle perfume of fine lees coming through with aeration. The palate is very crisp and lively on the entry with vibrant acidity, a citrus thread from start to finish, and though it is not a powerful Cap Classique, it is wonderfully poised with great persistence on the fresh lime and Granny Smith-tinged finish.
There are many alternatives to Champagne, and South Africa is no exception with some fine “Method Cap Classique.” Jean-Philippe Colmant hired winemaker Nicolas Follet to create a small range of impressive sparkling wines; they eschew malolactic fermentation and practice extended lees aging."
- eRobertParker.com , 92 pts
It was day 6 in South Africa and we find ourselves outside of beautiful Cape Town, in the country near the Riebeek Kasteel area in Swartland. Let's talk a little about my accommodations before I tell you about this amazing bubbly. We arrive at the one and only hotel in Riebeek to find out that there were not enough rooms open for all.
We reached out to our contact at Riebeek cellars, who we will refer to as "Point Break" from now on. For those of you that have not seen the movie Point Break, this guy looked and sounded like a blonde Keanu Reeves with a Dutch accent. Anyway, Point Break tells me that they have secured a small bed and breakfast that we could use for the overflow. Sounded nice...so I opted for it.
Upon arrival, the home was beautiful on the outside with a catchy French name, "Shades of Provence". After Point Break fiddled with the skeleton key and lock for a good 35 minutes in the rain, we finally get to see the inside of our new home. The door opened straight into the kitchen where the first thing I noticed was the mouse sh*t all over the place. It was winter there and the mice were trying to stay warm, I'm sure. Little did they know this damn place had no heat.
Besides myself and my fiancee Sylvia, there were 3 other people and a total of four rooms. At this point I knew I better drag both our suitcases up those steps and get to the best room before everyone else. At stroke-causing speed, I skipped up the steps nearly knocking Point Break on his back and went through the rooms. I settled for a nice corner room with the least amount of dirt on the concrete floor and with only one or two spider webs on the wrought iron bed post.
For dinner that night, we returned to the hotel restaurant to join the rest of our group. The 5 of us forced to stay in the bed and breakfast were in a far worse mood than everyone around us. Arriving late, we sat at the end of the dinning table and hoarded as much wine as possible to try and drink ourselves to a point where we could sleep in that disgrace of a French country side home that Point Break secured for us.
That night, I slept with the lights on, all my clothes on, and on top of the sheets hoping to avoid spider bites. I awoke that morning to Sylvia standing over me holding what looked like a hot water knob off of the shower. "It wasn't even attached.", she said. Sylvia proceeds to take a "whore-bath" in the sink using her own packed sock as a wash cloth. It was the only thing she deemed clean. To top it off, in a brief moment of happiness she finds a hair dryer in a cabinet. She pulled it out in triumph only to realize that there was a used condom stuck to the side of it. Obviously, this is her last trip to South Africa.
Michael David Winery Gluttony Old Vine Zinfandel is made from 100 percent Zinfandel.
This region produces some of California’s biggest and burliest Zinfandels that pull no punches, all too fitting characteristics for this wine. The grapes for this wine come from a 5 acre, 90 year old dry farmed Zinfandel hilltop vineyard off Ridge Road in Amador County, near Sutter Creek. Farmer Jon Murrill oversees the vineyard and does much of the farming himself.
TASTING NOTES This burly Zin is worth the indulgence. Deep purple in color, our 2017 Gluttony Zinfandel opens with tempting notes of pomegranate, ripe berry and hickory on the nose. Bold and booming flavors of plum, boysenberry and spice stand out while the extended barrel aging and mild tannins lend to a lush, lingering finish.
Penfolds Bin 149 Wine of the World Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
AVA Blend: 85.1% Rutherford + Oakville, 14.9% South Australia
Aromas, are focused, with sweet iced tea, savory caperberries, French polish, and heady barrel ferment characters of mocha and kirsch tapering to a precise point. Further notes include grated ginger, cola, green olive, caraway seeds, and a Bordelaise sauce richness. Classically Penfolds in character, yet altogether different in structure, the palate features fine, close-knit tannins and a menthol lift with flavors of cedar, sandalwood, and roasted meats. Bright acidity provides succulence and a sustained finish.
Penfolds Bin 149 derives its name from the percentage of South Australian Cabernet Sauvignon that’s woven into the blend. Its unique worldly disposition sets it apart from other California wines and is a testament to the power of the legendary Penfolds House Style. A wine both distinctive and of distinction, Bin 149 showcases a multidimensional palate of strong Napa Valley tannins and intense dark fruit, with an Australian twist.
Lots of blackberry, currant, light chocolate and hazelnut. This is rather dense and plush, but shows impressive layers of tannins that have a rough-velvet texture. Juicy and intense fruit. The grapes come from the AVAs of Rutherford, Calistoga, Oakville and then spread across Napa. 14.9% comes from South Australia. A global wine. In the end, it’s nicely toned and curated. Needs three or four years to come together. Try after 2025.
-James Suckling 97 Points