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2013 Alheit Vineyards Cartology, Chenin Blanc
Storage: Eligible for storage in our Bonded Warehouses, terms and conditions apply. Read More
It is rare for a new producer to achieve cult status almost immediately but Chris and Suzaan Alheit’s first (2011) vintage of Cartology brought them unexpected fame; only two years later the wine is one of the most tightly allocated South African names on the market.
The aim of the winery is to “vinify extraordinary Cape vineyards (sic)... to find the voice of the land itself. Whether that voice be a choir of amazing blocks blended into one bottle, or the purity and beauty of a single vineyard soloist.” Using the knowledge and contacts of leading viticulturist, Rosa Kruger, the couple sought out some of the oldest vineyard blocks in the country. Chenin Blanc accounts for 88 percent of the total blend and comes from four separate sites around the Western Cape:
35 percent Skurfberg – sourced from three separate farms
31 percent Perdeberg – Uitsig farm
12 percent Bottelary Hills – Radio Lazarus
10 percent Kasteelberg – Riebeeck Mountain planted on schist soils
The remaining 12 percent component is very old vine Semillon from La Colline on the Robertsvlei Road in Franschhoek.
The winery itself is a rented shed, originally conceived as an olive oil production facility, on the Hemel-en-Aarde road out of Hermanus, a far cry from their vineyard sources on the western coast.
There were only 43 barrels made of 2013 Cartology. Suffice it to say that availability is extremely limited.
Chenin Blanc is an important white grape variety planted in the Anjou-Saumur and Touraine regions of the Loire Valley and the most widely planted varietal grape in South Africa.
In the Loire it produces high quality dry wines in Savenniéres, and luscious sweet, dessert wines in Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume. In Vouvray and Montlouis it can be dry, medium dry, or sweet, and still or sparkling. Whether dry or sweet, the best Loire Chenin Blancs possess marvellously concentrated rich, honeyed fruit together with refreshingly vibrant acidity. It is Chenin Blanc's high acidity that enable the wines to age so well.
In South Africa Chenin Blanc is easier to grow and is prized for its versatility. It is used as a cheap blending option with Chardonnay, Colombard, and Muscat but also bottled unblended. The best producers keep their yields low and produce impressive mouthfilling wines.