£22.99–£24.99, AG Wines, Berry Bros & Rudd, Hay Wines, The Wine Reserve
I've loved every vintage of this wine I've tasted. It shows the virtue of blends, old vines, Swartland's diverse terroirs and the brilliant, sensitive winemaking by wife and husband Andrea and Chris Mullineux. It's powerful and richly textured, but lithe and fresh with a lovely apples-in-the-attic perfume, characteristic mineral accent and hints of white pepper spice, candied orange peel, nuts and preserved lemon. Andrea and Chris say the 2018 will show best "when decanted in the first three years after bottling" (it was bottled November 2018), but I've enjoyed several vintages older than that, not decanted, and would be happy to drink it any time over the next five years.
The blend is Chenin Blanc-based – 69% in this vintage, with Clairette Blanche, Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Semillon Gris from different parcels and soils – and is fermented in barrels with indigenous yeasts, left on lees until spring, then matured in oak (all used oak except for one 2000-litre foudre). It's a good food wine, especially with seafood and pork, including with spices, and goes well with vitello tonnato. I've also had it with blackened mackerel, which isn't a match I was banking on, but it worked. 14%
Mullineux Old Vines White 2018, Swartland, South Africa