Carrie’s Corner: Andrea Mullineux, international winemaker of the year

At the inaugural BizNews Investment Conference, wine expert Carrie Adams was on-hand to entertain and educate delegates about wine and all that goes with it. One of the wines that was showcased was Andrea Mullineux’s Kloof Street Chenin Blanc. Award-winning Andrea joined the BizNews Power Hour, chatting to Adams about their gorgeous selection of wines produced in the Swartland. – Jarryd Neves

Andrea Mullineux on awards won for winemaking:

We’ve been very lucky that people – especially journalists – have been enjoying drinking what we love making and very kindly have given a few titles and awards. [Rated top winemaker] by Wine Enthusiast.

Carrie Adams on the Kloof Street Chenin Blanc:

We did actually use your Kloof Street Chenin Blanc in a tasting at the BizNews Investment Conference on Wednesday night. Your Chenin Blanc was just so well accepted because it’s the most unbelievably accommodating, generous, juicy [and] fruity [wine]. I told everybody that the juice was going to run down their chins and it did. We drank and consumed copious quantities of Kloof Street. 

Andrea Mullineux on the Kloof Street Chenin Blanc:

The Kloof Street Chenin Blanc is our introduction to Swartland Chenin Blanc. We refer to it as our introduction, [but] it’s not by any means entry-level. Just because it’s a more affordable price doesn’t mean that it’s any less of a wine. It’s Chenin Blanc from the Swartland. It’s an hour north of Cape Town and known for its warm, dry, and breezy weather, which means that the vineyards can be farmed – totally sustainable – [with] minimal intervention and dryland farmed. It’s very important in this day and age to be farming as naturally as possible. 

Andrea Mullineux on Chenin Blanc:

Chenin Blanc is incredible for being grown dryland – which is surprising considering the fact it does originally come from a cooler, damper region of France. But it shows you how adaptable it is. Chenin Blanc has been in South Africa since the mid-1600s and it’s very well adapted to our climate, soil types, and has really shown that it can showcase where it’s grown.

The Chenin you get in South Africa is really unique in character compared to Chenin in France. We have a bit more texture, more vibrancy – and that’s what makes South African Chenin so special.

Andrea Mullineux on making Straw Wine:

The Straw Wine is a type of sweet wine and it’s a fantastic sweet wine for warm, dry areas where you obviously cannot make ice wine. You need a special kind of fungus for the wine. Straw Wine, when you pick the grapes off the vine at normal ripeness, are the same grapes that would go into one of our Mullineux wines, or one of our dry wines.

But instead of bringing them to the winery, we hang them in the shade of some trees for a few weeks where they concentrate in sugar and flavour. The most important thing is they concentrate in acidity in that time period and that’s quite important for why we cut them off the vine. It actually stops the ripening process. The desiccation process is what protects it from rotting. Instantly, the skins get a bit thicker and more leathery in a way because they’re literally turning into raisins. When they’re about halfway to raisins, when there’s still a little bit of juice left, that’s when we decide to press the grapes.

That’s when you squeeze the juice out of the grapes and it drips out like honey. It is like liquid sunshine just dripping out. It’s a long, slow process. There’s no instant gratification in it, because it takes like a month to dry, two days to press, and another year to ferment. All of that time and effort just really helps to create that layer upon layer of complexity in the sweet wine. It’s not just sweet; it’s got a beautiful acidity as well. That’s what keeps it clean on the palate and helps it really go well with food. It really has become an icon wine, just for all that beauty you get from the long, slow process it takes to make it. 

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