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Kloof Street Swartland Rouge 2020 £16.12
KLOOF STREET SWARTLAND ROUGE
Produced by Chris and Andrea Mullineux, the Kloof Street wines represent balance, freshness and superb value. They act as the perfect starting point for discovering the Swartland’s wines. It is immediately evident in the glass that as much care goes into these wines as Mullineux’s Single Terroir Syrahs and Chenin Blancs. The philosophy remains the same, sustainable viticulture and restrained winemaking, to produce an authentic expression of the Swartland. The wines are named after the street where Chris and Andrea lived in Riebeek-Kasteel when they first started making their own wine. Originally renting vineyards and cellar space, they registered their Liquor Licence to their home address, or as Chris puts it - “effectively semi-legally bootlegging out of our garage”. They now make some of the most lauded wines in South Africa, Kloof Street is a reminder of their modest beginnings.
The 2020 vintage was a good year for both quality and quantity in the Swartland, following the preceding drought years. Winter began late in July, with good rainfall accompanied by cold conditions that replenished reserves in the soil. Temperatures had a spike towards the end of August and the vineyards started budding about seven to ten days earlier than normal. The ongoing heat led to even bud burst and the shoots developed rapidly. Conditions were dry and warm, leading to a short and compact harvest period with good intensity of fruit and balanced acidity.
The nose is spicy and perfumed with undertones of blackberry and cherry. Each variety in the blend adds balance to the wine. Tinta Barocca brings tannin, Cinsault brings perfume, Carignan brings freshness, Grenache brings fruit character, and the Syrah ties it all together.
A blend of eight vineyard parcels, this wine is made from sustainably farmed fruit sourced from different parts of the Swartland. The vines are aged between 12 - 40 years. Two parcels of Syrah and one of Cinsault come from the stony shale and schist-based soils of Kasteelberg, which retain heat well and aid in the ripening of bold fruit. One parcel of dry-land, bush vine Syrah, one of Carignan, one of Grenache and a single parcel of gnarly, old, dry-farmed Tinta Barocca bush vines are all grown on the decomposed granite soil of the Paardeberg. This soil promotes the production of complex wines with lifted acidity. The final parcel is Mourvèdre grown on the rolling, iron-rich soils west of Malmesbury.
The 2018 vintage experienced extremely dry conditions in the Swartland. Average yields were down by 50% of normal volumes, and in some vineyards this was considerably lower. The lower yields resulted in significantly smaller grape bunches and berries, but has led to concentrated fruit with complexity of flavour and aroma. The canopies were also more open allowing more sunlight onto the grapes resulting in thicker skins, more tannins and darker fruit aromatics.
Grapes were chilled in Mullineux's cold room facility, before being trnsferred to tank. 75% of the fruit was destemmed, while the remaining 25% was left as whole bunches. Minimal SO2 was added and no other additions were made. Daily punch downs lasted for four days, after which fermentation began with indigenous yeasts. After this, the cap was punched down once or twice a day. The wine was pressed to barrel for malolactic fermentation. The different parcels were racked in spring to blend the wine, which was then returned to barrel.
The spicy perfumed nose has undertones of dark fruits. Each variety in the blend adds balance to the wine. Tinta Barocca brings tannin, Cinsault brings perfume, Carignan brings freshness, Grenache brings fruit character, and the Syrah ties it all together.
44% Syrah/Shiraz , 44% Tinta Barroca, 7% Grenache/Garnacha, 4% Cinsault , 1% Carignano/Carignan