The Finest in South African Wine image

The Finest in South African Wine

When it comes to winegrowing regions in South Africa, the Swartland is renowned for good reason.

The hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters that comprise the Mediterranean climate are ideal for allowing grapes to ripen slowly and evenly, with good acidity and flavour. The diverse range of soils, including shale, granite and clay, are also well-suited to growing different grape varieties, as well as being generally well-drained to help regulate water supply to the vines. Add to this the topographical variety, with its different slopes and elevations, and you have an array of favourable microclimates and growing conditions for different grape varieties.

It is unsurprising that the region’s long history of winemaking dates back to the 17th century, with a wealth of experienced winemakers dedicated to producing high-quality wines over the years.

Another award-winning wine region is, of course, the Franschhoek Valley - home of  Leeu Passant winery. Here, the unique terroir, including climate, soil and altitude, offers a distinctive character and flavour profile that really sets wines from this area apart. 

The Mediterranean climate offers warm weather for ideal ripening during the growing season, while the valley is surrounded by three mountain ranges, which makes for cooler weather during the winter and helps to provide the vines with the necessary rest they need for optimal growth. Add to this the diverse range of well-draining soils and high altitude, and the resultant wines, made using traditional methods, are truly exceptional.

Meet the Makers  

In keeping with their philosophy of working with best-in-class partners to offer guests truly unrivalled experiences, Leeu Collection is proud to collaborate with Chris and Andrea Mullineux to bring you Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines (MLFW).

The Mullineuxs are the team behind the widely celebrated Mullineux Wines, produced on Roundstone Farm in the Swartland appellation, as well as Leeu Passant winery based in Franschhoek. 

The wines from each of the two regions tell a distinct story. Mullineux winery’s portfolio encompasses the Mullineux Signature, Mullineux Single Terroir and Kloof Street ranges, focusing mainly on Chenin Blanc and Syrah from the Swartland region, whilst the wines made at the Leeu Passant winery on Leeu Estates in Franschhoek pay homage to the rich heritage and history of the Cabernet-Cinsault blends of the Cape, and includes a Cinsault made from the oldest registered red wine vineyard in South Africa, which was planted in 1900.

The Mullineuxs follow a reasoned approach to farming in all their vineyards and endeavour to apply practices as natural and organic as possible, all expertly managed by Chris and Andrea.

Global Acclaim  

When considering the combination of exceptional winegrowing regions together with the Mullineux’s award-winning winemaking, it is little wonder that Leeu Passant and Mullineux wines have notched up over 45 five-star ratings combined from the Platter’s South African Wine Guide since their first release in 2013 and 2008 respectively.

Mullineux was also named Winery of the Year by the wine guide in 2023, 2020, 2019, 2016 and 2014 – the first and only winery in South Africa to achieve this accolade five times to date. In keeping with the streak of firsts, it was also the only South African winery to be recognised in the Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 Wineries in the World - three times. Other global recognition includes the naming of Andrea as 2016 Winemaker of the Year by the prestigious US magazine, Wine Enthusiast

Guests at Leeu Estates can enjoy curated tastings of the premium, handcrafted wines presented by dedicated hosts that will guide them through the finer nuances and share their knowledge of new vintage releases or special cuvees.

There are three tutored tasting options available to choose from at The Wine Studio on Leeu Estates: The Mullineux Signature tasting, the Mullineux Single Terroir tasting and the Leeu Passant tasting.  

Uplifting an Industry 

Further elevating the wine industry in South Africa, Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines founded GREAT HEART wines in 2021.

After Chris and Andrea recognised the effects that COVID-19 had on their staff and wine community during the first South African lockdown in 2020, they created a new company aimed at improving the livelihood of all employees and their families working for them. These exquisite wines are collectively owned by the winery staff, which means that all profits from Great Heart wine sales will go directly to them.

The first Great Heart wines released were a Red Blend and a Chenin Blanc. The Great Heart wines are grown in vineyards managed by the Leeu Passant and Mullineux teams and made by Great Heart winemaker Gynore Hendricks, with the same attention to detail that the team follows in everything they do - resulting in wines with a natural intensity, complexity and a true sense of place that reflects the characteristics of the region, as well as those who live and work there. 

Great Heart's ethos of empowerment is evident in its unique label design by South African fine artist Jaco Sieberhagen, which is inspired by the story of a compassionate Cape wagtail's great heart for others: 

“The little wagtail roamed the great plains of Africa, always on the lookout for a new adventure. One evening, during a thunderstorm, the dry grass veld was set alight by a flash of lightning, destroying everything in its path.

At the first smell of smoke, all the animals fled to safety, except the little wagtail who remembered the human family he had once seen living downwind from the fire and he realised that they were in great danger. Instead of following the other animals, the wagtail flew to their home. With his high-pitched call, he woke the family in time for them to escape to safety.

The next day, the Creator summoned the little wagtail to appear before Him. ‘I have noted your selfless act of courage,’ the Creator said. The Creator then dipped His finger in the soot of the previous night’s veld fire and drew a heart on the white chest of the wagtail. ‘This will remind everyone of the great heart you have.’

And from that day forward, the Cape Wagtail often visits the homes of humans just to see if they are still safe.”

The home of these wines is situated at Le Quartier Français in the heart of Franschhoek, where the Great Heart Wine Boutique offers complimentary tastings for resident guests, as well as to those staying at sister property, Leeu House. All other guests can taste these amazing wines at Protégé restaurant as part of a set tasting on their menu. 

Latest Vintage Releases  

The much-awaited annual Mullineux Signature Allocation Offer, featuring the new vintages of the distinguished Mullineux Old Vines White, the Mullineux Syrah, and the coveted Mullineux Straw Wine, was released in March this year, impressing wine enthusiasts with its unmatched quality.

Most recently, the Leeu Passant winery, now entering its tenth year, also released its Allocation Offer, including the coveted flagship cuvee, Leeu Passant The Leeu Passant

Further to this, the collection includes the 2021 Leeu Passant Franschhoek Sémillon; the 2021 Leeu Passant Stellenbosch Chardonnay; the 2021 Leeu Passant Wellington Old Vines Basson Cinsault; the 2021 Leeu Passant Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon; and the 2017 Leeu Passant Radicales Libres. 

The new vintage release wines are currently available for tasting at The Wine Studio on Leeu Estates. Due to the limited availability, booking is essential

Last but not least is the release of the exquisite new BAS Brut Cap Classique, exclusively created for the Leeu Collection, with the winemaking overseen by the talented Andrea Mullineux. 

Named after Leeu Collection founder Analjit Singh (aka BAS), the refined Method Cap Classique is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes grown on the limestone-rich soils of the Robertson Valley, and is reserved for in-house guests at Leeu Estates, Leeu House and Le Quartier Français. 

Guests with reservations at The Wine Studio on Leeu Estates and The Great Heart Wine Boutique at Le Quartier Français can also book lunch at The Dining Room, the exclusive new dining option in the Leeu Estates Manor House. 

For more information on experiencing the best of the South African winelands through world-class wines and five star premium accommodation in the heart of Franschhoek, contact our Guest Liaison team for your next steps. 

Leeu Collection Founder Analjit Singh (aka BAS) with Chris and Andrea Mullineux

Leeu Collection Founder Analjit Singh (aka BAS) with Chris and Andrea Mullineux

The Wine Studio at Leeu Estates

The Wine Studio at Leeu Estates

The Great Heart Wine Staff Empowerment Project

The Great Heart Wine Staff Empowerment Project