Highlights: Alheit Vineyards Fire By Night 2018

Chris Alheit is one of South Africa’s top winemakers and old vine rescuers, working closely with the Old Vine Project to preserve the country’s OV heritage, and making expressive wines of place, like this. Wow. This exceptional Chenin Blanc comes from the decomposed granites of Swartland’s hallowed ground of Paardeberg, sourced from the Nuwedam Farm on the Joubertskloof side, and from a vineyard that he loves and was able to purchase in August 2019. The vines, planted in 1978, were native fermented in cement eggs. Savoury, intense, yet graceful (the holy trinity), this dances across the svelte palate, leaving a wake of quince and subtle white peach atop a slender cushion of lees, all taut with a granitic vibrato. The lengthy finish echoes with salinity, imprinting this bottle. Stunning now, and more so with cellaring. 94/100

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Treve Ring

Treve Ring is a wine writer and editor, judge and speaker, and perpetual traveller. [She is also Correspondent Anorak.]