Alheit Cartology 2018
The Chenin comes from parcels in the Skurfberg, Perdeberg, Bottelary, and False Bay. The Semillon comes from the old La Colline block in Franschhoek.The nose shows lemon peel, fennel, spearmint, ripe apple and pear, perhaps a touch of honey. The palate is very vibrant and fine, with ample texture and weight. The finish is long and refreshing.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Displaying a golden hay color, the 2018 Cartology Bush Vines is a blend of 90% Chenin Blanc and 10% Sémillon. The wine opens with an expressive and bountiful nose with waxy citrus and nutty tones that give way to an undercurrent of minerality with a persistent dusty essence in the glass. Medium to full-bodied, the wine explodes on the palate with elements of smoke, lees and beeswax before giving way to hints of oak with flavors of marzipan, almond butter and dusty peach skin. The frame is held together by a tight structure with lifting acidity, moderate alcohol and a touch of phenolic bitterness that gives the mid-palate some complexity and weight. The wine continues to evolve in the mouth on the long, drawn-out finish long after it has left the palate. This is a beautiful, age-worthy wine that has mineral tension and is perfect for food.
A blend of 90% Chenin Blanc and 10% Sémillon, this just screams Chenin from the glass, thanks to notes of waxed melon rind, crisp pear slices, lightly toasted apple and pressed yellow flowers. The medium-weight palate feels round and filling on entry, but is then picked up after the sip thanks to focused acidity and a light astringent texture that lends length to the finish. Overall, this is well-balanced and ready to go now and through 2026.
With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.
Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.
South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used in white wine blends, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied white wine blend, like Chardonnay, would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.