Alheit Monument 2021
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PRODUCER: Alheit Vineyards is a family business started in 2010 by husband and wife team Chris and Suzaan Alheit. They met at Stellenbosch University, fell in love, travelled the world together, got married, then travelled some more. Eventually they settled on Hemelrand farm close to Hermanus and started their project.
Their goals are simple. They want to make wines with a clear sense of Cape identity. They want to show that the Cape’s vinous heritage is worth celebrating and protecting. They love old vineyards. They love dry farming. They love bushvines. They think that “ordinary grapes” are in fact wonderful. They believe that great things are possible here in the Cape, and that they are now just scratching the surface of what can be done.
VINEYARDS: These grand old vines are farmed by father and son, Anton and Koos Roux on their family farm, La Colline. They are direct descendants of the Huguenot refugee Paul Roux who arrived in the Cape in 1688. Anton's grandfather planted the vineyard in 1936 on an elevated South facing slope overlooking the valley below. The parcel is situated between 310 m and 350 m above sea-level. The soil is mostly granitic with plenty of quartz.
There are a few different shades of Sémillon growing together here: from emerald green to amber, rose and mauve. These genetic oddities are typical of the Cape's older Sémillon vineyards, and seem to be extinct in the rest of the world. This affords us the chance to make something unique to the Cape.
WINEMAKING: We pick all of these different shades of grapes together. The grapes are hand sorted and whole bunch pressed. The raw juice is settled overnight with no additions, then racked relatively clean compared to our Chenins. Wild fermentation takes place in old barrels, usually lasting around one month. The wine was kept on primary lees in barrels for 18 months prior to bottling without fining. Very simple, careful winemaking.
TASTING NOTE: In Chris Alheit's Words: 'The nose is quite expressive, showing citrus, nuts, and something herbal like spearmint. The palate is very textured and intense, showing layered flavours of naartjie and bitter almond maybe a touch of spearmint. This is a serious wine with unusual depth and carry. The best Monument/La Colline in a few years, I think.'