Mullineux, Straw Wine, WO Swartland, South Africa, 2013
Grapes (varietal chenin blanc) harvested at normal ripeness level, then raisined in the open air on racks for 3 weeks, concentrating sugars, acids and flavours. Then whole bunch pressed, and put to 5th fill French barrique, natural yeast fermentation ceasing naturally after about 6 months. Some barrels are left on ullage to oxidise and others topped up regularly. After 12 months the contents are blended, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. RS about 270 g/l, total acidity ~ 10g/l, VA ~ 1.1, and pH ~ 3.4
Natural cork closure, 10% abv, 375ml, Gauntleys, £17.95 (2015).
WSET style tasting note
Appearance – clear and bright, deep intensity amber, showing distinct tears.
Nose – clean on the nose, with a pronounced intensity, developing, with an aroma of volatile acidity, always present in wines from botrytised grapes, so some proportion in this wine, then aromas of thick orange marmalade, ripe pineapple, over-ripe yellow peach, tinned yellow peach, mango, papaya, butterscotch, thick honey, rich dried citrus, stone and tropical fruit, rich floral aromas of orange blossom and frangipane.
Palate – a sweet wine, with high acidity, medium (-) alcohol, with a full body and a smooth viscous but not cloying texture, a pronounced intensity, with flavours of rich orange marmalade, stewed ripe stone fruit, rich tropical fruits – over-ripe pineapple, mango and papaya. The length is very long with a cleansed palate thick orange marmalade finish.
Quality – an outstanding quality wine, with balanced acidity with residual sugar and rich intense flavours. Flavour concentration is strong following into the seemingly endless length, with complexity reflected in the long length with high acidity almost perfectly cleansing the palate.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: can drink now, but has potential for ageing over 5-10 years. There is a strong acid structure supporting this heavyweight wine, there is oxidative, witness the amber hue, tertiary development now with dried fruits, but there may be room for further development to include perhaps a honeyed-nutty dimension?