The ‘savvy Swartlanders’ as Greg Sherwood MW calls Andrea and Chris Mullineux have just launched a new wine under their Leeu Passant label – a stylish 2018 Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, it’s true. There is nothing they cannot do!
Leeu Passant is an ambitious project and a side effect of their quest to find the finest terroir is discovering superior parcels that demand to be bottled. ‘There was no plan to make a Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon,’ says Chris but they just had to! The wine is supremely elegant, showing off the refinement and dedication to quality that has become the trademark of the Mullineuxs’ winemaking. It’s a Swartland take on Stellenbosch Cabernet! There’s only a limited amount of this 2018 Stellenbosch Cabernet available and it’s keenly priced.
The Cabernet Sauvignon was launched alongside 2 rare, small-batch bottlings of SA’s oldest registered red wine vineyards – the 2017 Wellington Old Vines Basson Cinsault, planted in 1900, and the 2018 Franschhoek Old Vines Lötter Cinsault, planted in 1932. There’s something haunting and ethereal about the Wellington wine, whereas the Franschhoek bottling is much more powerful with great depth and considerable structure; sure to last for decades! These are immense wines that capture our history and are at the core of shaping SA’s future heritage.
These 2 vineyards form the inspiration for the 2017 Dry Red – an impressive, unique wine that is at the apex of SA’s fine wine ambition. If you are a serious collector this must be included in your cellar. Tim Atkin MW calls it ‘a true modern classic!’
Last but not least, is the single-vineyard 2018 Stellenbosch Chardonnay from one of the region’s very best Chardonnay vineyards. The 2018 is as classy as the award-winning 2017 with the same power, purity and refined core. It is fast becoming a Stellenbosch benchmark!
For more on these new releases, watch Roland’s #TalkingWine commentary on IGTV.
Leeu Passant, Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Grapes from a 39-year-old Firgrove site and two parcels on the Helderberg. Spontaneously fermented and matured for 12 months in 500-litre barrels and then 10 months in foudre. Red and black fruit, fresh herbs and violets on the nose. Lovely fruit weight – neither too light nor too heavy. Nicely poised with plenty of energy and crunch to the tannins. A very stylish take on Stelenbosch Cab. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 93/100
Leeu Passant, Franschhoek Old Vines Lötter Cinsault 2018
From a 1932 vineyard. Matured for 20 months in 500-litre barrels. Plums, cherries and spice on the nose. The palate is juicy, round and relatively soft. Gives the perception of sweetness, this only in the best sense (the wine is technically dry) and the tannins are very fine. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 92/100
Leeu Passant, Wellington Old Vines Basson Cinsault 2017
From SA’s oldest registered red wine vineyard, planted in 1900. Matured for 20 months in 250-litre French oak barrels. A top note of rose before cranberry, raspberry and wild strawberry to go with hints of herbs and earth. Lovely fruit definition, bright acidity and tannins that are fine yet somehow still grippy, the finish long and dry. Has the variety’s inherent modesty about it but nevertheless compelling. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 93/100
Leeu Passant, Dry Red Wine 2017
Co-fermented where possible, according to Chris Mullineux, this is the third vintage of this subtle, refined Western Cape cuvée of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with 26% Cinsault and 18% Cabernet Franc. It’s a very complete, self-assured wine with layered tannins, grassy red berry fruit, fine balance and crunchy acidity. A true modern classic. Drink: 2021-27. – Tim Atkin MW, 96/100
This red blend of 56% Cabernet Suavignon, 26% Cinsault and 18% Cabernet Franc spent 12 months in 500 litre barrels and around 10 months in neutral foudre. Explosive and expressive, this wine literally leaps out the glass to greet you. Hugely aromatic, it unfurls with intense black berry, red currant, bramble berry and raspberry jam nuances. Such opulence and freshness, on the palate there is an incredible balance and harmony. Fabulous layers of red and black berry, strawberry confit, sweet tobacco, leafy spice and the most alluring foresty bramble berry seduction. A truly beautiful, complex and expressive red blend that changes in the glass continuously. What a super classy red wine that really is worthy of its collectible fine wine status. – Greg Sherwood MW, 95/100
Leeu Passant, Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2018
Matured for 18 months in French oak, 30% new. Pear, white peach, citrus, oatmeal and some struck match on the nose. Excellent fruit concentration without being unduly weighty, punchy acidity and a saline finish. Great focus and detail – this has layers and layers of flavour. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 95/100