Alheit Vineyards

Magnetic North

Magnetic North is a single origin Chenin Blanc wine. Since its maiden vintage in 2013, this wine has become a perennial star in our line-up. Every vintage it manages to combine power and finesse in a way very few other Chenin vineyards from anywhere (not just the Cape) are able to do.

The Story Behind Magnetic North


Magnetic North is made from two dry farmed ungrafted (own rooted) parcels growing on a high mountainous ridge at 520 meters above sea-level on very red iron rich sandy soil over red clay. The two parcels are quite close together on a gentle south-east facing slope. One is planted in 1984, the other in 1981. Together they comprise about 2.8Ha. Usually, they yield between 1 and 2 tons per Ha, but in 2022 they delivered over 3 tons per ha. I personally consider this to be one of the absolute best Chenin vineyards in the Cape.

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Magnetic North

Technical Details

100% Chenin Blanc (Bushvines)
Wine of origin Citrusdal Mountain
Production 2706 bottles
Bottling May 17 2021
Alcohol 13.36%
RS 1.81 g/litre
TA 6.2 g/litre
PH 3.15

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.

Winemaking and Maturation

The grapes were hand sorted and whole bunch pressed. The juice is very lightly settled(we like very cloudy raw juice) with no additions to the raw juice, wild fermentation in both foudre and cement egg. Fermentation lasted about one month. The wine was kept on lees for around 12 months, then rested in tank on fine lees without fining for a further six months prior to bottling. Very simple, careful winemaking.

Tasting Notes

The nose is vivid and pure, yet near impossible to pin down. Is that grapefruit swirling in the air? Or pear? Or neither nor both? The wine makes you want to sit down or at least steady yourself. The palate is a long, bristling arc of sour fruit and citrus oil; the finish lingers on in a steady hum. Some say that there is enough electricity in one of these bottles to power a modest house for an hour or so.

download the full 2020 vintage fact sheet