Alheit Vineyards Magnetic North 2019


“Like its Skurfberg brother Huilkrans, these high-lying ungrafted Chenin vines produced something exceptionally good in 2019. Howerver, this wine is nothing like the last two vintages. It has much more in common with the powerful 2016 vintage in terms of substance and palate weight. The nose is just fantastic; grapefruit zest meets ripe pear and herbs. The palate is full and layered and very long. These special vines continue to produce some of the loveliest wines in the Cape.”

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These remarkable little parcels are planted in the Citrusdal Mountain viticultural district (aka Skurfberg) on a high mountainous ridge at 520 meters above sea-level on very red iron rich sandy soil. The real kicker isn’t the great view of the Cederberg nor the distant Atlantic, but that fact that this block is planted on its own roots.

Yep. It’s an ungrafted dryland bushvine Chenin vineyard planted high up. We almost called it El Dorado. Half of the vineyard had already been pulled out when Basie van Lil, a man we know well and have worked with for years, nonchalantly showed it to us “just in case” we were interested in salvaging it.

Why the odd name? The vineyard lies a few degrees off true north from our cellar, roughly on magnetic North. The name implies distance and exploration. It implies a true course of action or movement. It implies an attractive force causing us to drive miles and miles for these vines. There is plenty of iron in the soil, which is a magnetic element, so that fit nicely too.

In physical reality, Magnetic North is always moving, it never remains in the same place, so there is the added implication of a mysterious unattainable target.

Since it’s maiden vintage in 2013, this wine has become a perennial star in our lineup. It’s the one we would send out to war if you know what I mean. Every vintage it managed to combine power and finesse in a way very few other Chenin vineyard from anywhere (not just the Cape) are able to do.

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Alheit Vineyards