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The Mullineux are Winemakers of the Year for Tim Atkin MW

Posted: Friday, 15 September 2017 13:57

 

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The Mullineux are Winemakers of the Year for Tim Atkin MW

Sep 15: Chris and Andrea Mullineux have been chosen as the Winemakers of the Year in the sixth Annual Tim Atkin South Africa Special Report 2017 released this week, with Mark Le Roux of Waterford picked out as the Young Winemaker of the year and Neil Ellis, founder of Neil Ellis Wines and a doyen of South African wine industry with an experience of around 40 years in the industry, designated as Winemaking Legend by Atkin

Click For Large ViewAndrea Mullineux was chosen as the Winemaker of the Year in 2016 by Wine Enthusiast.

Following are the other wine producers acknowldeged:

Overall White Wine of the Year: Sadie Family Kokerboom 2016
Overall Red Wine of the Year: Beeslaar Pinotage 2015
Overall Sweet Wine of the Year: Mullineux & Leeu Essence 2012
Overall Fortified Wine of the Year: De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2015
Overall Sparkling Wine of the Year: Graham Beck Cuvée Clive 2011
White Wine Discovery of the Year: Rall Ava Chenin Blanc 2016
Red Wine Discovery of the Year: Gabriëlskloof The Landscape Series Cabernet Franc 2015
Best Value White of the Year: Swartland Winery Limited Release Roussanne 2017
Best Value Red of the Year: Onderkloof Cabernet Franc 2014
Best Value Sparkling Wine of the Year: Villiera Tradition Brut NV

It is interesting to note that Platter's South African Wine Guide had also declared  Mullineux Straw Wine 2015 as the 2017 "Dessert Wine of the Year". Andrea Mullineux says of her fixation with straw wine that it is an effort to showcase the sun  botrytis is difficult to obtain locally while harvesting late means forfeiting acidity so instead she opts for grapes that have been dried which has the effect of “concentrating everything”.

Mullineux Essence 2012 selected, is from Chenin Blanc grapes left extra-long to dry and which went into the press at 72⁰ Balling, the resulting juice having “the colour of Coca-Cola and the taste of honey”. Fermentation occurred in a single 225-litre barrel and took four and a half years to complete. The result is a wine with an alcohol of 4%, residual sugar of 610g/l and a total acidity of 14g/l! The nose shows marmalade, apricot, ginger and cinnamon. The palate is inevitably very flavourful but what is particularly striking is the texture – thick to the point of greasy. The acidity, however, is really punchy and the wine is surprisingly drinkable as a result.

Partnered with the Indian billionaire Analjit Singh, a few of the entry level wines from the Joint venture are about the enter the Indian market thought the distributors Fratelli, but it is unlikely that Straw wine will be imported in India due to the exorbitant costs.

Wine Specialist to watch out for

Every Master of Wine is a specialist and expert in every part of winemaking, marketing, tasting and wine education; some are better than the others. Tim Atkin has chosen to specialise in South African wine in a way that might have riled up many producers but he is steadfast in giving his opinion. During my trip to Wines of South Africa (WOSA) office in Stellenbosch a couple of years ago I was not surprised to find hundred of open bottles on the floor. The whole office seemed to have been in attendance for the Tasting and I got the impression he is fast becoming ‘Robert Parker’ of the country’s wines. In any case, people take note of what he tastes and writes about.

Cape Classification 2017

Besides bringing out the Sixth Annual Report, he has also come out with the 2017 Cape Classification for the fifth attempt this year. His goal is ‘to classify the Cape's best producers, an annual feature now that has stimulated considerable debate in South Africa. This is loosely based on the 1855 Bordeaux Classification, although quality rather than price is the sole criterion I use,’ he says. There are six different bands (Growths) as compared to five for Bordeaux 1855- first, second, third, fourth and fifth growths, consisting of 20 wines each, and a larger group of 100 crus bourgeois. He has  increased the number of wines included from 150 to 200 in 2017.

His 2017 classification is a snapshot of the Cape wine industry. Mindful that a critic should attempt to reward talent, irrespective of a long track record in some cases, he has chosen his favourite producers, rather than reinforcing others’ opinions. Track records can be overrated in his view.

Some of his classified producers have only made a few vintages so far-Alheit, Beeslaar, Blackwater, David & Nadia, Lismore, Patatsfontein, Storm and Thorne & Daughters are some of them. He thinks their lineage or the length of time being in the business is irrelevant and these wineries will help to define the Cape wine industry over the next quarter of a century.

So watch out for these finds from Tim Atkin MW, one of the regarded South African wine specialists.

Subhash Arora

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