South African wine industry – and beyond – Allan Mullins is a legend.
80% of the Woolworths vast range of wines (5 and a half pages in the Platter
Guide making it the single biggest wine listing in the book by a country mile!)
are blended by him personally with the assistance of Ivan Oertle – a job which involves
his many, long-lasting friendships and connections forged over the last 30
years of wine buying for Woollies.
At a recent lunch with the Cluver family from
Elgin at Aubergine, I got the chance to try some of the exclusive parcels of
wines which Allan chooses, including an astonishing Riesling (R69.99) which was
fresh, zesty, crisp and delicious, and one of the best and best-value Cabernet
Francs (R89.99) I’ve tasted in sometime – better than many other highly-awarded
Allan Mullins' signature wines
Ivan suggested that perhaps the time had come for Allan to blend something
entirely personal to him and create his own signature range of wines called ‘My
Song’ reflecting Allan’s love of music.
With his huge network of wine farms
which have become friends, the options open to him were many and varied.
the red wine, he eventually settled on a straightforward Bordeaux blend from
the very best barrels at Spier “Frans Smit (cellarmaster at Spier) gave me a
free hand in the cellar and I made a blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon
(43%) and Cabernet Franc (7%)”. The wine is from the 2009 vintage and is still
incredibly youthful and elegant so Allan recommends either keeping it or
decanting it before serving it.
really interesting wine is the white because – most unusually – it is made up
of wines from two completely separate wine farms and regions. “I wanted to work
with Johan Reyneke” says Allan “because I really admire what he does and the
kinds of wines he produces, particularly the Reserve White (an organic wooded
I tried blending it with Johan’s Chenin but just couldn’t find a
sweet spot and it was then that I thought of Semillon and a good friend of
Johan’s and mine – Duncan Savage of Cape Point Vineyards.”
of this saw Duncan piling samples into his car and driving straight through to
Stellenbosch bringing with him wooded Semillon, unwooded Semillon and some made
in a concrete egg (which adds a richer element).
Duncan and Johan left the
samples with Allan (probably heading out for a surf together in the meantime!)
and he worked and worked until he came up with his unique blend – 50% of Reyneke’s
Organic wooded Sauvignon Blanc, 25% of Cape Point’s wooded Semillon and 25% of
Cape Point’s unwooded Semillon.
2 wineries in a single wine
What makes it so unique is the collaboration of
the two wineries in a single wine – something which Allan says he has done
before (about 20 years ago with Jan Boland Coetzee and Neil Ellis) but which
no-one, to be best of his knowledge, is doing today. “What was really inspiring
was the enthusiasm they both had for the project, the chance it offered them to
work together” says Allan.
The first in a series
The My Song
wines are the first in a series of wines Allan is hoping bring out over the
next few years.
Already he has ideas about a Pinot Noir and a bubbly although
he doesn’t know yet who with.
But whatever he makes in this range will almost
certainly be unique either in terms of the blends, the wineries involved or
simply Allan’s selections “So buy them quickly!” he chuckles!
The My Song
Red, R199.95, and the My Song White, R 169.95, are available at selected