Alheit Vineyards new releases
By Christian Eedes, 24 August 2021
“Wines with a clear sense of Cape identity” is the goal of Alheit Vineyards and there are indeed few producers who succeed in being as true to their vineyards as Butch Alheit. The 2020 of the multi-site Cartology is the 10th bottling of this wine and it’s the best yet for me. Magnetic North from this vintage, meanwhile, is colossal and will wow many but it’s Nautical Dawn that impresses most of all with its utter refinement.
Alheit Hereafter Here Chenin Blanc 2020
NEW – grapes from two young blocks in Stellenbosch, 70% on Polkadraai Hills and 30% in the Upper Blaauwklippen Valley. Spontaneously fermented and matured in old barrels. Pear, peach, lime and herbs plus undertones of wet wool and earthiness on the nose while the palate shows concentrated fruit, lively acidity and a pithy finish. It’s very pleasing but perhaps inevitably doesn’t have quite the same detail or mass as the wines from old vines in the range. Production: 9 036 bottles
CE’s rating: 92/100.
Alheit Cartology 2020
93% Chenin Blanc and 7% Semillon, from unirrigated old-vine parcels situated across the Cape. Spontaneously fermented and matured in a variety of vessels including cement eggs, clay pots, foudres and old barrels of different sizes.
Super-complex aromatics of pear, peach, lime, green apple, thatch, herbs, earth and some waxy character. The palate has excellent structure – great density of fruit matched by bright acidity. Marvellous intensity of flavour but also great drive, the finish long and savoury. An extraordinary achievement especially seeing as production is 23 331 bottles.
CE’s rating: 96/100.
Alheit Nautical Dawn 2020
From a 1978 Chenin Blanc block on granite in Firgrove, Stellenbosch. Spontaneously fermented and matured in two 2 000-litre foudres. Hay, pear, peach, a touch of earth and some wet wool on the nose. The palate shows precision and tension – pure fruit plays off against snappy acidity before a finish that is long and pithy. Wonderfully refined with a crystalline structure. Production: 5 116 bottles.
CE’s rating: 97/100.
Alheit Magnetic North 2020
From two blocks on Citrusdal Mountain (aka Skurfberg), the one planted in 1981 and the other in 1984. Fermented and matured in a single 2000-litre foudre. Striking aromatics of buchu and other fynbos before pear, peach and grapefruit plus lanolin and earth. The palate is rich with an almost oily texture – great fruit density matched by a cracking line of acidity before a savoury finish. Nothing if not attention grabbing. Production: 2 706 bottles.
CE’s rating: 96/100.
Alheit Monument Semillon 2020
Previously La Colline – from a Franschhoek vineyard planted in 1936. Spontaneously fermented and matured for 18 months in old barrels. Pear, peach and yellow apple with overtones of thatch, herbs and a little white pepper on the nose while the palate is rich and broad – great depth of fruit to go with seemingly quite moderate acidity, the finish gently savoury. Production: 1 389 bottles.
CE’s rating: 94/100.
Alheit Hemelrand Vine Garden 2020
From a site planted to multiple varieties on Hemel en Aarde Ridge, this vintage consisting of 32% Chardonnay, 25% Roussanne, 25% Chenin Blanc, 13% Verdelho and 5% Muscat. Matured in old oak for 12 months before a further six months in tank. Exotic aromatics of citrus, peach, tropical fruit plus hints of flowers and herbs. The palate, meanwhile, is dense with tangy acidity and a gently savoury finish. A wine that becomes increasingly convincing as the vines mature. Production: 8 246 bottles.
CE’s rating: 95/100.
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