Leeu Passant new releases
By Christian Eedes, 10 June 2021
While Andrea and Chris Mullineux are exclusively Swartland focused when it comes to the wines labeled under their surname, Leeu Passant allows them to explore the rest of the Cape and work with other varieties, and what an impressive portfolio this is turning out to be. Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows:
Leeu Passant Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2019
Grapes from a Helderberg vineyard. Spontaneous fermentation before maturation lasting 20 months in 225-litre French oak barrels, 30% new. A top note of struck match before peach and citrus plus hints of vanilla and oak spice. The palate is rich and smooth textured – hugely concentrated, tangy acidity lending drive. Hard-hitting and yet marked by exactness. As grand and impressive as ever.
CE’s rating: 94/100.
Leeu Passant Wellington Basson Cinsault 2018
Grapes from a 1900 vineyard on alluvial soils. 100% whole-bunch fermented in tank before being matured for 20 months in 500-litre French oak barrels. Strawberry and plums with some floral perfume and spice in the background. The palate is light and elegant – lovely clarity of fruit, fresh acidity and fine tannins, the finish long and dry (alcohol is 13%). Entirely charming.
CE’s rating: 93/100.
Leeu Passant Franschhoek Lötter Cinsault 2018
Grapes from a 1932 vineyard on clay and iron-rich sandstone. Winemaking largely as above. Beautiful aromatics of black cherry, plums, rose, and herbs while the palate is well structured and relatively substantial (alcohol is 14%) with good fruit purity, bright acidity, and fine tannins. A year in bottle sees this filling out very nicely.
CE’s rating: 94/100.
Leeu Passant Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Grapes from a 40-year-old Firgrove site, two parcels on the Helderberg and one in Polkadraai Hills. Matured for 20 months in 500-litre barrels, 30% new. The nose shows a pronounced leafy note as well as cassis and earth. The palate is light-bodied with vibrant acidity and a very dry finish. – tightly wound and quite austere (alcohol is 13.5%). This is a wine of understatement and it will appeal to those of more classical sensibilities but the mid-palate is arguably lacking.
CE’s rating: 91/100.
Leeu Passant Dry Red Wine 2018
Price: R1 060
63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc and 16% Cinsault. Matured for 12 months in 500-litre French oak barrels, 30% new before blending and being returned to 2 000-liter foudre for eight months. “A homage to SA heritage,” says Chris Mullineux, this wine inspired by the great blends of yesteryear.
Alluring aromatics of red and blackberries, violets, some leafiness, and attractive oak while the palate has great clarity and energy – succulent fruit, bright acidity, and supple tannins. Very much a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, the 2018 is perhaps the most refined release to date.
CE’s rating: 96/100.
Check out our South African wine ratings database.
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