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 (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. Together they comprise about 2.8Ha. Usually, they yield between 1 and 2 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 3810 bottles and 120 magnums
Bottling May 15 2024
Alcohol 13.23%
RS 1.9g/l
TA 5.90g/l
PH 3.32

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 one foudre and one 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 five months prior to bottling. Very simple, careful winemaking.

Tasting Notes

2023 saw the passing of the beloved Basie van Lill, a terrific character who meant so much to those who knew him. Arbeidseind farm, now in the sure hands of his son Christiaan is quite something.

This wine is so strikingly beautiful to me that I’m not sure what to say without choking on hyperbole. The nose shows grapefruit and rooibos, but it’s not that simple. There are otherworldly impressions of mountain air and sea mist here. Mystery abounds. The palate drives and drives. It shimmers and echoes. I want to keep it, but we have to sell it.

download the full 2023 vintage fact sheet