Leeu Passant new releases
By Christian Eedes, 6 April 2023
Andrea and Chris Mullineux are, of course, very much affiliated with Swartland when it comes to the wines under their own name while Leeu Passant, on the other hand, is intended to “celebrate being a South African winery” allowing them to source grapes more widely and be inspired by the industry’s heritage as a whole. Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows:
Leeu Passant Franschhoek Semillon 2021
NEW. Grapes from a vineyard approximately 60 years old. Fermented and matured for 12 months in oak of which 30% was new before being transferred to concrete egg for a further 12 months. Some flinty reduction precedes subtle notes of pear, peach, citrus, apple, blackcurrant and hay. The palate is light yet intensely flavoured. Pure fruit and bright acidity but certainly not as forceful as some other examples of the variety from this part of the world. Alc: 12.5%.
CE’s rating: 93/100.
Leeu Passant Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2021
Grapes from Helderberg. Fermented and matured for 12 months in oak of which 30% was new before being transferred to tank for a further eight months. Some struck-match reduction before citrus, stone fruit, oatmeal and oak spice on the nose. The palate provides the sensation of biting into ripe, fleshy fruit – rich and round but beautifully balanced thanks to incisive acidity. Generous and expressive upfront, the finish meanwhile comes wonderfully to a point. Alc: 13.5%.
CE’s rating: 95/100.
Leeu Passant Wellington Cinsault 2021
Grapes from SA’s oldest registered red-wine vintage planted in 1900. Exceptionally fragrant aromatics of red currant cassis and plums plus fynbos, potpourri, rose and white pepper. The palate is powerful with big volume – juicy upfront with a nicely dry finish. Vinification involving 50% whole-bunch fermentation, alcohol is 14.3%.
CE’s rating: 94/100.
Leeu Passant Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
Grapes from three Helderberg blocks. Matured for 12 months in oak of which 30% was new before being transferred to 5 000-litre wooden vats for a further 12 months. Attractive top notes of fresh herbs and rose before red and black berries. The palate is medium bodied with great fruit purity, fresh acidity and firm but not astringent tannins. With almost faultless structure and poise, this is really charming and by far the best vintage to date. Alc: 13.86%.
CE’s rating: 96/100.
Leeu Passant Radicales Libres 2017
From Barrydale Chardonnay, this is deliberately oxidatively aged with maturation in barrel lasting five years. On the nose, there are notes of oats, roasted nuts and spice plus a residual hint of citrus. The palate is hugely intense, layered and long. Dense yet refreshing, there is a sense of the variety being stripped down to its very essence. Rich and wonderfully textured, final alcohol is 14.39% having started out at 13.2%.
CE’s rating: 97/100.
Leeu Passant Dry Red 2020
Price: R1 820
45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cinsault. Red and black berries, dried herbs, tea leaf and earth on the nose while the palate shows pure fruit and fine tannins – plush but not weighty, snappy acidity lending refreshment.
CE’s rating: 94/100.
Check out our South African wine ratings database.
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