Last week I wrote about my stay at Leeu Estates, and the dinner which Llewellyn Lambert and I enjoyed at the five star Boutique Hotel. I also shared my Spa experiences. Day two Breakfast, and the wine tasting I did the following morning at the Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines Tasting Room are covered in this Blogpost.

The bedroom of Suite 6 is extremely spacious, and this describes everything about the luxury suite, which has an enormous wooden deck facing the manicured lawns and luscious garden. The light switches must be imported, being tiny silver point knobs, which one needs to wiggle to activate them. Last year, at the launch of Leeu Estates, we were told that Suite 6 is the one used by Mr Singh when visiting Franschhoek. It is peaceful on the estate, and one wakes up naturally. I was reminded that the headboard is made with horse hair. As a welcome gift I received a bag with Syrah-infused Salt.

I was welcomed in the Dining Room for Breakfast, and a Buffet had been set up. Fresh figs, bananas, oranges, kiwis, gooseberries, raspberries, and sweet melon were offered on platters. A stand with pastries included croissants, pain au chocolat, whole grain Muffins, sticky buns, and puff pastry.  Jars of marmalade, honey, quince jelly (my absolute favorite and a childhood memory), and berry compote formed part of the Buffet. Granola and yoghurt were available too. I ordered a dry cappuccino immediately, having written late the night before. 

Restaurant Manager Alcino Carnow was knowledgeable in answering all my questions, and told me that he had previously worked at La Residence and Indochine. He had heard of my son working at Indochine, but had joined after my son’s departure for the U.K. three years ago. Eleanor Kerwan appears to be a floating Leeu Collection ambassador, and arrived to check that all was in order. She took my cooked breakfast order, which I tried to keep healthy, with Scrambled eggs with chives, and Three Streams smoked trout, to which my request for avocado was added. Other hot breakfast options are free range eggs with a full complement of breakfast foods, including black pudding; Duck’s egg Benedict, with smoked ham and hollandaise sauce; buck rarebit, and free range fried egg; masala omelette; triple egg omelette with foraged mushrooms, streaky bacon and Gruyère; blueberry flapjacks, Canadian maple syrup, and blueberry butter; chickpea rösti, foraged mushrooms, and Vine tomatoes; smashed avocado on sprouted seed toast, feta, and chili; spicy pork hash, black pudding, and a fried double yolker with homemade brown sauce; and local cheeses and charcuterie, breakfast relish, oat cakes, and seed crackers. 

Despite being under some time pressure for the wine tasting which had been booked for me, I could not resist a slice of toast with the quince jelly, with a second dry cappuccino, now tasting a little stronger. 

I had packed my things together, and my luggage was stored in my car whilst I walked to the Tasting Room, despite the offer to be driven there in the golf cart. 

Grapes had been planted on Leeu Estates, in its previous capacity of three smallholdings having been merged to create Leeu Estates. A wine cellar which was already on the property was modernized, and a Tasting Room has been added. One walks past lion statues, the ‘trademark’ of the Leeu Collection, down a pathway towards the Tasting Room. 

I was greeted by Kayo, and he efficiently sat me down facing the barrel cellar, and telling me which three tasting options are available. I selected the Leeu Passant tasting, the newest range of three wines to be produced, the first to be made from grapes not sourced from the Swartland, which has previously been the hallmark of Andrea and Chris Mullineux. 

Three Tasting options are offered:

#  Mullineux Signature Tasting, which includes the entry level Kloof Street Chenin Blanc 2016 (R95), Mullineux Old Vines White 2016 (R270), Kloof Street Rouge 2015 (R115), and Mullineux Syrah 2014 (R305). This tasting costs R110. 

#  Mullineux Single Terroir Tasting, which represents the flagship wines, not all being available for every vintage. This tasting includes Mullineux Granite Chenin Blanc 2015, Mullineux Quartz Chenin Blanc 2015, Mullineux Granite Syrah 2014, and Mullineux Schist Syrah 2014. The cost of this tasting is R240. All of these wines are sold out. 

#.  Leeu Passant Tasting, the flagship portfolio of the Leeu Passant Winery. The portfolio is described as ‘fine wines inspired by the distinct culture, history, and tastes of the Cape’. The tasting costs R180. The three wines tasted are Leeu Passant Elandskloof Chardonnay 2015 (R625); Leeu Passant Stellenbosch Chardonnay (R625); and Leeu Passant Dry Red Wine 2015 (R975). This tasting is rationed, with only six to eight tastings offered per day, as stock is already running low, with only 1000 – 4000 bottles produced per variety. 

Leeu Passant first flagship Franschhoek-produced Mullineux-made wine range!

As Kayo had to attend a meeting, his colleague Admire did the Leeu Passant wine tasting with me. Admire remembered me from Grande Provence. Gabriel glasses were used for the Leeu Passant tasting. All the Leeu Passant bottles have been signed by Mr Singh, Chris Mullineux, and Andrea Mullineux. Bread sticks were brought to the tasting table, to be used to clear the palate. The three wines I tasted were described as follows:

#   Leeu Passant Elandskloof Chardonnay 2015: the grapes are sourced from the Elandskloof appellation, planted at high altitude. The wine is naturally fermented in French oak barrels, of which 30% is stored in new oak. The nose gives stone fruit and lemon biscuits, while the palate expresses a creamy, limey, citrus character with exotic spice notes. Viticulturist Rosa Kruger has been assisting the Mullineuxs in finding grapes outside of the Swartland, for the Leeu Passant range. Only a minimal amount of sulphur is added to preserve the wine.  The wine is made with 100% Chardonnay grapes, whole bunch pressed, 100% malolactic fermentation, and the wine is matured for 12 months in French oak barrels. Flinty and minerality. Jamie Goode awarded this wine 95 points out of 100. I was told that the Mullineuxs purposely have steered clear from emulating international wines, wanting to only produce a wine focusing on South African heritage and terroir. 

#   Leeu Passant Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2015: This wine is produced in a similiar fashion to the fellow Elandskloof wine, the only difference being the source of grapes. The grapes come from the Helderberg area, which is closer to the ocean. Admire described them as ‘happy vines’. The wine is naturally fermented in French oak barrels, with 30% matured in new oak. It has vibrancy, there is life in the glass, it is powerful, complex, multi-layered, salty, with a mineral character. It is creamy and rich. It has an aging potential of eight to nine years. A total of 3300 bottles were produced. 

#   Leeu Passant Dry Red Wine 2015: this wine is a blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon (from 36 year old vines in the Helderberg), 34% Cabernet Franc (from 20 year old Vineyards in the Helderberg), and 31% Cinsaut. The Cinsaut Vine is 117 years old, and is located in Wellington, and grapes from a 93 year old Vine is sourced from Franschhoek. This wine has an aging potential of 20 years. The Cabernet Sauvignon gives weight and structure, while the Cabernet Franc makes it meaty and spicy. Freshness and fragrance comes from the Cinsaut. 

I enjoyed the luxury of the 24 hour stay at Leeu Estates, and was impressed with the detail and depth of the building interiors, the artwork, the neatness of the gardens and the property in general, the friendliness of the staff, and the focus on the guest. There were some small issues, which feedback I presented to Leeu Collection Marketing consultant Nicolette Waterford, who had invited me. 

Leeu Estates, Leeu Collection, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 492-2222. www.leeucollection.com Twitter: @LeeuCollection Instagram: @LeeuCollection

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter: @Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein