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2 wineries - 1 wine

Something wonderfully unique from Woolworths and Allan Mullins.

22 Nov 2012
allan mullins

Within the South African wine industry – and beyond – Allan Mullins is a legend.

Almost 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 versions.

Allan Mullins' signature wines

Last year, 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. 

For 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.

Different regions

But the 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 Sauvignon).

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.”

The upshot 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 Woolworths stores.


Read more on: cathy marston  |  red wine  |  wine

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