2020 Alheit Vineyards Magnetic North Chenin Blanc
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.
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
The 2020 Magnetic North comes from iron-rich soils and vines planted in 1981 and 1984. It has a distinctive nose with rooibos and fynbos scents, earthy perhaps and well-defined; you'll either love it or hate it (mine is the former). The palate is well balanced with a very tangy entry: marmalade, kumquat and grapefruit, so bitter that it might put some people off. But Alheit describes it as a "weirdo" and the best wine he's made. Impressive, though not his best wine in this vintage (then again, the bar is set high at this address). Drink: 2023-2036.
92 points, Neal Martin, Vinous
A distinctive white, almost pungent on the nose, with notes of fresh-cut grass, steeped orange peel, pine and flint following through to the palate to join candied black cherry and apricot fruit. Creamy, with a bright backbone of acidity and a minerally underpinning of smoke and salt. This will have both lovers and haters, but will probably shine brightest paired with food; try grilled fish. Drink now. 112 cases made. 90 points, Wine Spectator