Date: 18 January 2013
Wine: Alheit Vineyards 2011 Cartology
Origin: Walker Bay, South Africa

Revelation: I’d heard about this wine a few times in recent months from several wine industry friends based across Europe. Lucky me, a bottle just dripped its way to my glass.

I’m lucky because I’ve heard so much about it from palates I trust that I really wanted to try the wine. Lucky, again, I am because the wine is not imported into the USA. This blend of 92% Chenin Blanc and 8% Semillon competes fiercely with the other South African white I would rate as best-of-the-best: Hamilton Russell’s Chardonnay.

Cartology is pertinently named for its mix of five vineyards, stretched through the center of the Cape. All are old, gnarly, bush-trained vines. They produce a succulent, satisfying wine that is neither heavy nor extracted. Delicate flavors of nettle, straw, hazelnut and honeydew melon mix into the more prominent structure – full in body, yet lifted by supporting acidity, and made more curvaceous by whisps of glycerol.

Cartology is more about an excellent drink than a sense of place or revelation of varieties. No matter. This is a space to watch. I don’t yet know the other wines of Alheit, but I’ll be making it my business to do so this spring.