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 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 comes from the Citrusdal Mountain ward, situated in the mountain wilderness of the West Coast. It is made from two parcels of dry farmed ungrafted bushvine Chenin growing on an isolated ridge at 520 m above sea level on red iron-rich sand over gravel and red clay. The two parcels are quite close together on a gentle southeast facing slope. One was planted in 1984, the other in 1981. Together they comprise 2.8Ha. In 2020, they yielded at 1.35 ton/Ha.

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Magnetic North

Technical Details

100% Chenin Blanc (Bushvines)
Wine of origin Citrusdal Mountain (aka Skurfberg), Arbeidseind Farm
Production 2706 bottles
Bottling Jun 25 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 one 2000L Foudre, four years old.

Fermentation lasted about one month. The wine was kept on lees for round twelve 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