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.
A compelling bouquet – pear, citrus and white peach but also dried herbs, thatch, yellow earth and a subtle waxy note. Relatively rich on the palate but very flavourful and entirely seamless – grapes are drawn from from mainly Paardeberg and Skurfberg but also Bot River and Stellenbosch as well as Franschhoek in the case of the Semillon and there’s a sense that Alheit grows ever more expert at how to meld the different components. Great fruit concentration, coated acidity and a nice pithy quality to the finish.