Having spent most of Saturday tasting more than 100 red wines from the Loire Valley (actually, there were almost 150, but I simply didn't have the staying power!) I have plenty of notes to write up over the next few days. Meanwhile, here's a note on a rather good South African Chenin-based wine that was enjoyed at the post-tasting dinner.
Mullineux White 2010 Swartland, SA
This is a blend of 80% Chenin Blanc, 10% Clairette and 10% Viognier, bottled unfined and unfiltered. Whether it is aged in oak, I can't say for sure, although if it is, the effect is subtle. The texture is lovely, with a slight oiliness and a really quite rich mouth-feel, but that richness is beautifully offset by a combination of intense, stoney minerality and ample acidity. It isn't overtly fruity, either on the nose or the palate - aside from a touch of orange/lime pithiness and perhaps a vague hint of spiced apple - but it is intensely "winey", which I guess is another way of saying it is complex. The fact that I find that complexity hard to describe is very much a positive, because it is a wine for contemplation, which keeps inviting you back for more. And there is definitely a start, a middle and a finish - it is weighty and intense to begin with, before a wave of minerality and zingy acidity hits you, followed by a long, warm and really quite spicy finish. This bottle was brought to dinner by the man who imports the Mullineux range of wines into the Netherlands, and he kindly gave it to me to take home at the end of the evening. And 3 days later, it continues to offer a lot of enjoyment - and, indeed, is still evolving and gaining weight, which is a sure sign that it should age nicely for a good few years. Having rather damned the 2009 vintage of this wine with faint praise a while ago, I found this bottle to be really excellent. I believe it retails for around about £16 in the UK.