10 Cape winemakers to watch

Chris & Suzaan Alheit, Alheit Vineyards

Chris and Suzaan AlheitIf you were looking for a wine that encapsulates what the new generation of South Africa is all about, then Chris and Suzaan Alheit’s white blend Cartology would be a pretty fine example. From their base near Hermanus, he and his wife draw on parcels of Chenin and old vine Semillon from a host of different regions to create a wine that Alheit describes as being “as Cape as possible.”

“With Cartology we’re trying to make a South African heritage white, something that can’t be repeated in other parts of the world,” he sets out. “We don’t want to look to somewhere else for inspiration and the grape sites we have here are pretty enticing.”

Building on that desire to show off the best of South Africa, Alheit has introduced a new project from the 2015 vintage that aims to show off and thereby preserve the country’s host of old vine plantings. Called Flotsam & Jetsam, the collection’s first expression is a Cinsault from a grower in Darling and the plan is to add a further two wines to the range in 2016.

Alheit stresses the urgency behind this venture, observing: “You can pick up Cinsault for R5,000 (£240) a tonne, or even a lot less, like R3,000. That’s just unethical – we’re paying R10,000.”

Showing off the first result from the initiative, he confirms: “It’s going to be a volume driven business in the end because the margins are quite small, but that’s cool. It’s lekker, it’s refreshing – you want to brush your teeth with it.”

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