Critic's Pick

94 | Mullineux

Price: $37/375ml
Grape Varietal: Chenin Blanc
Region/Appellation: South Africa
Imported by Kysela Père et Fils, Winchester, VA

2011 Swartland Straw Wine Chris and Andrea Mullineux met at a wine conference in Champagne, eventually settling in Swartland, where they focus on Rhône varieties. They also produce this chenin blanc from two vineyards that sustain high acidity in the grapes; one is more than 30 years old on shale and schist; the other is more than 40, where the dry-farmed bush vines grow on decomposed granite. They harvest around 23° Brix, then let the grapes dry on racks for three weeks to concentrate the sugars. They then crush the grapes and ferment them without added yeast, which can take up to six months. They age it six months in barrel, topping some of them to preserve the freshness while leaving others alone, allowing some oxidation. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, the wine is fresh and luscious, layering flavors of candied orange, golden raisin, grilled pineapple, wheat germ and straw. Put all those reactions aside and think of the moist air in an apple orchard along the Atlantic coast, of how succulent and fragrant the air can be. —Joshua Greene

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