2012 Alheit Vineyards "Cartology" Chenin Blanc Western Cape

SKU #1124442 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 92+ The sophomore 2012 Cartology Bush Vines took 10 to 15 minutes to really open. The bottom line is that it is not as immediate as the debut, its disposition a little taciturn with tightly wound dried pineapple, yellow flower and spice aromas unfolding but demurring moving into fifth gear. The palate is well-balanced with a creamy textured opening and it builds very subtly offering popcorn, brioche, custard creme and citrus fruit but in much more subtle, understated fashion compared to the 2011 that sprinted out of the blocks. I would actually allow this wine two or three years in bottle to demonstrate what it is capable of. Drink 2015-2023.  (12/2012)

K&L Notes

From the Winemakers: "Our guiding philosophy is that fine wine is 99% Vineyard and 1% Cellar. Cartology (meaning the study of maps) is a vinous exploration of Cape heritage. It is intended to be a picture of the Cape, seen through the lens of her mature vineyards, in a given vintage. Therefore, this cuveé is composed of rare and extraordinary parcels of mature dryland bushvines. Naturally, the varieties used are also heritage varieties, namely Chenin blanc and Semillon, that have been planted in the Cape for centuries. The 2012 is composed of 35% Skurfberg (Citrusdal Mountain), 31% Perdeberg 15% Kasteelberg, 5% Bottelary Hills (all Chenin blanc) 14% Franschhoek (very old Semillon vineyard). The nose is a complex, both earthy and bright, showing lemon peel, ripe stone fruits and ripe apple. The palate is taught and slightly saline, with very good concentration and depth. The wine has a fine form, without excess bulk. Finish is very long, with a noticeable interplay of saline/sweet/tart elements.

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Price: $32.99
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Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/2/2014 | Send Email
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Super interesting wine. A young couple dedicated to white wine pushing the boundaries of minimal intervention wine making. Their philosophy is proudly 99% vineyard, 1% winemaking! This is sourced from very old Chenin Blanc and Semillon vines in the remote Western Cape and Franschhoek Valley. The wine is a pure reflection of the incredible old dry farmed vineyards from which the fruit is sourced. Tightly focused, mineral infused stone fruit nectar with added weight and texture from the Semillon component. Complex and intriguing wine that unfolds layer upon layer. A very limited production of only 20 barrels.

Staff Image By: Mike Barber | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/5/2013 | Send Email
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This is the reason South Africa has tried to make chenin blanc a national wine identity- it grows fantastically in the South African climate and soils and can produce wines like this. The cartology is almost chenin blanc perfection- a finely tuned balance of white flower, honey, light fruit and minerality. In my opinion, it is the best South African white we have to offer.
Drink from 2014 to 2019

Additional Information:


Chenin Blanc

- Also called Pineau de la Loire and Pineau d'Anjou. Chenin Blanc is an expressive white French varietal that makes beautiful dry, sweet and sparkling wines. Traditionally grown in the Loire Valley, the wines made from this varietal are typically labeled geographically. Vouvray Chenins are traditionally medium-sweet; Savennières Chenins are typically bright and crisp; Coteaux du Layon Chenins like Bonezeaux and Quarts de Chaume are among the world's most sought-after sweet wines, and the sparkling Chenins of Saumur are perfumed and delicious. What all of these iterations of the grape have in common is their ability to age, a gift bestowed upon them because of the grape's naturally high-acidity.

South Africa

- Now that it has adopted a multi-racial attitude, and now that the world has embraced its government and its exports, South Africa has become a major wine producer. Unfortunately, South Africa has had a difficult time joining the ranks of competitive winemaking countries. During the anti-apartheid sanctions in the 1980s, South African wine was dealt the huge blow when it was removed from the international market, and for political reasons it was quite difficult for wine producers to market wine to the black majority. Things are finally looking up for the wine industry here, and quality has never been higher. South Africa produces a grape cloned from Pinot Noir and Cinsault, called Pinotage, which is the country's unique varietal. Chenin Blanc (known as Steen) makes up one-third of its vines. Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz are becoming increasingly popular as are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Click for a list of bestselling items from South Africa.