Alheit Vineyards

Magnetic North

Magnetic North is a single origin Chenin Blanc wine. Since it’s maiden vintage in 2013, this wine has become a perennial star in our lineup. 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 dryfarmed ungrafted (ownrooted) 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. They’re each approximately 1Ha in size. In 2019, they yielded 2.5 ton/Ha or 1.5hl/Ha.

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Magnetic North

Technical Details

100% Chenin Blanc (Bushvines)
Wine of origin Citrusdal Mountain (aka Skurfberg), Arbeidseind Farm
Production 3446 bottles
Bottling Jun 1 2020
Alcohol 13.89%
RS 3.5 g/litre
TA 6.4 g/litre
PH 3.29

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 old barrels 300L barrels (12 years old). Fermentation lasted about one month. The wine was kept on lees for round 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

Like its Skurfberg brother Huilkrans, these high-lying ungrafted Chenin vines produced something exceptionally good in 2019. However, this wine is nothing like the last two vintages. It has much more in common with the powerful 2016 Magnetic North in terms 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.

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