Alheit, Nautical Dawn 2021
The name Nautical Dawn is inspired by the close proximity (4km) of the vineyard to the ocean in False Bay. The cold ocean lends its cooling influence to the wine – expect racy acidity and delicious saline notes to mingle with the beautifully ripe fruit.
The grapes were hand sorted and whole bunch pressed. The juice was only lightly settled before being transferred, still cloudy, to 2000L Foudre’s for fermentation and 12 months of gross lees contact. An additional 6 months on the fine lees before bottling. Simple winemaking to preserve the outstanding quality of the fruit.
Expect notes of yellow fruit and sweet herbs reflecting the Stellenbosch sunshine. The proximity of the ocean lends a salinity and racy acidity to the wine. Chris’ deft hand in the winery accentuates these flavours with hints of toasted cereal and cream. Outstanding!
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Nautical Dawn is a single origin Chenin blanc wine. Since its maiden vintage in 2017 it has helped to showcase the raw talent of the False Bay coast of Stellenbosch – a vital part of the Cape Chenin story. The wine has quite an extreme personality. Even with early picking, this vineyard delivers huge flavour with intense concentration and ripping natural acid.
On Rustenhof farm in Firgrove (southern Stellenbosch) there’s a small granite hill called Sinai. The crown of the hill has a few small granite domes protruding from the soil. From up there you can see the waves breaking only 4kms away. The hillside is planted from top to bottom with dry farmed bushvine Chenin Blanc. Nautical Dawn is made from a parcel planted in 1978 on the upper part of the slope. The vine rows run with the contour of the hill. The granite soil is shallow and warms quickly, causing this to be one of our earliest picks of the season, despite the relentless South-East wind.
Winemaking and Maturation
The grapes were hand sorted and whole bunch pressed. The juice is very lightly settled (we like very cloudy raw juice) with no additions to the raw juice, wild fermentation took place in two 2000L Foudre’s. Fermentation lasted for about two months. The wine was kept on lees for twelve months, then rested in tank on fine lees without fining for a further six months prior to bottling. Very simple, careful winemaking.
This wine reflects the tension of elements where it grows: the mellow glow of
Stellenbosch sunshine drenching the hills, doused by a cold salty slap of South East wind. Yellow fruit and sweet herbs sing their familiar tune. The wine is mouth filling and moreish, saline, and nimble. Lovely long resonating finish. I give it two thumbs up.
Varieties: 100% Chenin Blanc (Bushvines)
Wine of origin: Stellenbosch
Production: 3865 Bottles
Bottling: May 2022
RS: 3.2 g/litre
TA: 6.2 g/litre
Nautical Dawn is the phase of dawn that occurs between astrological dawn and civilian dawn. It’s a mysterious time of day – dark enough to see the stars for navigation, light enough to hoist a sail. We wanted a name that would take you close to the sea and facing East.
Delicious with all manner of seafood - from sushi to shellfish.