Alheit Nautical Dawn Chenin Blanc 2018  Front Label
Alheit Nautical Dawn Chenin Blanc 2018  Front LabelAlheit Nautical Dawn Chenin Blanc 2018  Front Bottle Shot

Alheit Nautical Dawn Chenin Blanc 2018

  • RP93
750ML / 0% ABV
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

On Rustenhof there’s a small granite hill called Sinai that is covered with bushvine Chenin Blanc. The crown of the hill has a few small granite domes protruding from the soil. Alheit’s part of the vineyard is on the upper mid-slope of the hill, planted with the contour. This is Alheit’s earliest ripening vineyard that delivers huge flavor, intense concentration, and full throttle natural acid. The location shows a bit more grace, and perhaps some more earthy elements, lending detail and finesse to the wine.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Displaying with a pale straw color, the 2018 Nautical Dawn is immediately impressive with citrus blossom elements blown by sea spray, Meyer lemon pith, green apple skin and a significant mineral expression that makes this wine utterly electric in the glass. Medium-bodied but full in flavor, the wine bursts to life with zippy, energetic acidity that will allow this to age for more than a decade. Underneath the dusty citrus tones and soft salinity, flavors of lemon pastry cream wade across the palate, displaying masterful elegance and balance. The wine draws me back for more as the finish somersaults and evolves from more than a minute. This is serious winemaking at hand. Bravo! It is devastatingly gorgeous and food friendly.

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Alheit

Alheit

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Alheit, South Africa
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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.

WBO30270369_2018 Item# 717075

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