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Leeu Passant Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2015

Country: South africa
Region: Stellenbosch
Type: White
Producer: Leeu passant
Grape: Chardonnay
Bottle Size: 75cl
Vintage: 2015
Alcohol: 14%

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A powerful and altogether more extrovert chardonnay but which packs a zesty, saline element amid swirling heady notes of lime and blossoms. Produced from two parcels on the Helderberg in Stellenbosch, this is very likely a new benchmark for South African chardonnay.

Tasting Notes

Leeu Passant – ‘Walking Lion’ - is the new Franschoek project from Swartland pioneers Chris and Andrea Mullineux (Wine Enthusiast's Winemaker of the Year 2016). This is a genuinely momentous project that the pair have been working on since 2013, backed financially by Big Pharma billionaire Analjit Singh (the Afrikaans word 'leeu' means 'lion', which is the Sanskrit derivation of the family name 'Singh'), and renowned viticulturist and old-vine guardian Rosa Kruger. The three wines of Leeu Passant – one red blend and two single-site chardonnays - represent the no-expense-spared jewels in the crown of their ambitious new venture. With a cinsault-based red blend using fruit from the oldest cinsault vineyard in South Africa (117 years old), and these wines are the ultimate fruits of Rosa Kruger's old vine preservation project, which has yielded such high quality fruit for producers from Chris Alheit to Eben Sadie and many more leading new wave winemakers besides. Andrea Mullineux says of these wines that they wanted to do something “uniquely South African". The red blend takes its inspiration from the South African reds of the 50s, 60s and 70s - mainly cabernet sauvignon-cinsault blends. The two single-site chardonnays: one from Elandskloof, one from Helderberg, are designed as homages to pioneers of South African Chardonnay such as Peter Finlayson and Danie de Wet, who were the first to smuggle Chardonnay vines into the country. Routinely described as game-changing by critics, these are three creme de la creme de la creme wines that redefine the South African wine landscape. They inspired by the past but reinterpreted to make them unique and new – the red to rival any cru classé Bordeaux; the whites to meet the very best white Burgundies head-on. From the univerally raved-about 2015 SA vintage, these three momentous wines will age for decades and are arguably the most eloquent expression yet of South Africa's old-vine story.

Press Note:

Jamie Goode, Lovely freshness here: very keen with good lemony acidity. There’s a hint of matchstick reduction that adds interest, with a really mineral core to the tight, fresh lemony fruit. Finished with a TA of 8, through malolactic. Such a powerful, tight wine. 96/100 Tim Atkin MW, SA Special Report 2017: “Sourced from a vineyard on the False Bay side of the Helderberg, it’s a saline, ocean-influenced style with lovely elegance, lift and focus, subtle oak and a refreshing, palate-cleansing finish. 2018-25.” 96/100

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