MAGNETIC NORTH

These remarkable little parcels are planted in the Citrusdal Mountain viticultural district (aka Skurfberg) on a high mountainous ridge at 520 meters above sea-level on very red iron rich sandy soil. The real kicker isn’t the great view of the Cederberg nor the distant Atlantic, but that fact that this block is planted on its own roots.

Yep. It’s an ungrafted dryland bushvine Chenin vineyard planted high up. We almost called it El Dorado. Half of the vineyard had already been pulled out when Basie van Lil, a man we know well and have worked with for years, nonchalantly showed it to us “just in case” we were interested in salvaging it.

Why the odd name? The vineyard lies a few degrees off true north from our cellar, roughly on magnetic North. The name implies distance and exploration. It implies a true course of action or movement. It implies an attractive force causing us to drive miles and miles for these vines. There is plenty of iron in the soil, which is a magnetic element, so that fit nicely too.

In physical reality, Magnetic North is always moving, it never remains in the same place, so there is the added implication of a mysterious unattainable target.

Since it’s maiden vintage in 2013, this wine has become a perennial star in our lineup. It’s the one we would send out to war if you know what I mean. Every vintage it managed to combine power and finesse in a way very few other Chenin vineyard from anywhere (not just the Cape) are able to do.

MAGNETIC NORTH MOUNTAIN MAKSTOK 2017

The nose is already quite impressive, showing lemon skin, grapefruit, honeysuckle and pear, with a “rusty” savoury type of edge. The palate shows boundless energy, fine tannin and trademark towering acidity. It’s the type of wine that builds in the mouth, revealing more of itself, unfolding, cascading. 14% alc

MAGNETIC NORTH MOUNTAIN MAKSTOK 2016

Composition: 100% highland dryland ungrafted bushvine Chenin Blanc.

Tasting Notes: The unique soils must have played a big role in how these vines coped with the dry year. There’s a clay layer about two meters below that must act as a reservoir, enabling the vines to do well in such conditions. We’ve never had a wine quite like this in the cellar. The nose is extremely impressive: high toned citrus and fynbos notes screaming love poetry at your nose. The palate is totally electric, bright, powerful and long. This is my personal favourite of our bottlings to date.

MAGNETIC NORTH MOUNTAIN MAKSTOK 2015:

Composition: 100% highland dryland ungrafted bushvine Chenin Blanc.

Notes: This wine is still very much in its early youth, however the nose is already quite impressive, showing grapefruit, honeysuckle and pear, with a “rusty” savoury type of edge. The palate is tightly wound, positively bristling with very fine tannin and great acidity, all leading to a finish which continues on long after swallowing. This wine gets me a bit emotional sometimes, then I remember to harden up.

MAGNETIC NORTH MOUNTAIN MAKSTOK 2014:

Composition: 100% highland dryland ungrafted bushvine Chenin Blanc.

Notes: The 2014 wine is true reflection of it place and vintage.  It’s very young, but already showing flavours of grapefruit and ripe lemon skin.  This wine is extremely vibrant and refreshing in nature. Despite being a medium bodied wine, it had tremendous “drive” through the palate. The intense pithy texture, fine tannin and somewhat saline finish are typical of this vineyard.  

MAGNETIC NORTH MOUNTAIN MAKSTOK 2013

Composition: 100% highland dryland ungrafted bushvine Chenin blanc.

Tasting notes: The wine is completely unique, to the point that I wonder if tasting notes are at all relevant. The nose is both bright and slightly earthy, showing flavours of fennel, citrus, quince and fynbos. It’s light on its feet, yet very intense and powerful, showing scintillating natural concentration. The texture is reminiscent of tightly woven, layered cloth. It seems to finish forever, as if the record got stuck or time stopped for a while.

Click here for a map of where our vineyards are.

Click on the packshot for a high res version.