Alheit Magnetic North 2014 Front Label
Alheit Magnetic North 2014 Front Label

Alheit Magnetic North 2014

  • RP93
  • WS92
  • WE90
750ML / 13.5% ABV
Other Vintages
  • W&S93
  • WS90
  • WS92
  • WS93
  • RP92
  • WE94
  • RP91
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750ML / 13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The nose is both bright and slightly earthy, showing flavors of fennel, citrus, quince and fynbos. It’s light on its feet, yet very intense and powerful, showing scintillating natural concentration. The texture is reminiscent of tightly woven, layered cloth. It seems to finish forever, as if the record got stuck or time stopped for a while.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2014 Magnetic North Mountain Makstok comes from a ridge located at 520 meters. It has slightly more detail on the nose compared to Radio Lazarus: red apple, honeysuckle, peach skin and a touch of wild mint. The palate is linear, very focused and precise, fresh and tensile; it is not the most complex Chenin Blanc, but it works because it is so minimalist that you find yourself focusing upon the traces of grapefruit and white peach. This is more about texture than flavor and yet it remains an utterly absorbing wine.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Enticing, with a richly layered core of Jonagold apple, Bosc pear and heather honey notes, offset by a racy spine of verbena and chamomile that really stretches out the finish. Reveals rippling acidity underneath. Chenin Blanc.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
Toasted hazelnut, Honeycomb cereal, apple pie and orange cream lead the powerful nose of this decadent Chenin. The medium-weight palate is lush and smooth in texture, with ample acidity to counter the ripe baked apple and honeydew fruit. Toasted, buttered nuts and sweet spice flavors abound on the finish.
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Alheit

Alheit

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Alheit, South Africa
Alheit Winery Image
Chris & Suzaan Alheit are a husband and wife team. They have traveled and worked harvest together in California’s Napa Valley, Western Australia, St Emilion, the Clare Valley & the Mosel River. Their love for adventure overseas has led them to New Zealand, Languedoc, Rousillon, Provence, the Northern & Southern Rhone & the Cyclades in Greece. They have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for the great wines of Europe, a place they consider to be the heartland of truly fine wine. They strive, in their winemaking, to apply lessons learnt in Europe to what they do in the Cape. Alheit is based on Hemelrand, a beautiful mountain farm situated high on the Hemel & Aarde Ridge in Walker Bay. This rugged piece of fynbos covered land belongs to Hans & Mary Anne Evenhuis. Complete with stone buildings, Hemelrand is planted to an olive grove, lavender fields and a very exciting young vineyard. The Alheit’s aim is to make wines that have a fine form and are not bulky. The result is finely crafted wines that have ample power, but no excess weight – something akin to a gymnast, rather than a sumo wrestle. The Alheit’s are absolute minimalist in their winemaking approach. Grapes are whole bunch pressed. No enzymes, sulphur or yeast are used. The grapes undergo natural fermentation in old barrels with absolutely no new oak used. The first sulphur is applied in winter. The wines are not racked and they stay on the lees for ten months. They do not fine and filtration is used only if absolutely needed. The wine is held for seven months prior to release.
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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.

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Unquestionably one of the most diverse grape varieties, Chenin Blanc can do it all. It shines in every style from bone dry to unctuously sweet, oaked or unoaked, still or sparkling and even as the base for fortified wines and spirits. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. Somm Secret—Landing in South Africa in the mid 1800s, today the country has double the acreage of Chenin Blanc planted compared to France. There is also a new wave of dedicated producers committed to restoring old Chenin vines.

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