Top 10 South African winemakers to watch

5: Chris and Suzaan Alheit, Alheit Vineyards

Affable husband and wife winemaking duo Chris and Suzaan Alheit use traditional Cape varieties to make authentic Cape whites. They’re passionate about old vines, preferring to let the terroir talk by keeping cellar work simple. “Fine wine is grown, not made,” says Chris. Having worked harvests together in California’s Napa Valley, Western Australia, St Emilion, the Clare Valley in South Australia and the Mosel in Germany, the well-travelled pair made a base at Alheit Vineyards, high on the Hemel-and-Aarde Ridge in Walker Bay.

Their debut, Cartology 2011, is intended to be a picture of the Cape as seen through the lens of its mature vineyards. Composed of rare parcels of mature bush vines from Perdeberg, Kasteelberg and Franschhoek, the Chenin Blanc/Semillon blend is naturally fermented and aged in old French oak barrels.

Sulphur is only added following the completion of fermentation, when the wine is stable of its own accord. The result is a rich, mineral wine with notes of stone fruits, lime and honey. “We hope to find the voice of the land itself, whether it be a choir of amazing blocks blended into one bottle, or the purity and beauty of a single vineyard soloist,” says Suzaan.

5 Responses to “Top 10 South African winemakers to watch”

  1. SpellingNazi says:

    Might I suggest a quick edit to correct the spelling mistake in the first line…? ConTstantia? Really?

  2. Diederik le Grange says:

    I think this article should have headed ‘…Swartland’.. There is more variety out there, I don’t think the author thought that over.

  3. Dusan Jelic says:

    I know personally 5 of these 10 guys. I think you did a great job and your article shows an important part of the power young lions have in the South African wine scene. Of course there are more to mention, but still, kudos for your kind effort! Cheers!

  4. Andre says:

    You wrote a decent article, but don’t quote Neil Pendock in relation to South African wine.

    Comment moderated – Admin.

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