Alheit Vineyards,

The Liberator Midnight Bakkie Rides Again Episode 42

Chenin Blanc,
Western Cape,South Africa,
  • Greg Sherwood: 93


Bottle size: 750 ml,

In stock

Beyond the periphery of South Africa’s conventional vineyard regions lie great vinous treasures, resigned to anonymity; forgotten, abandoned or just simply undiscovered. It is the mission of Rick “aka Richard Kelley MW of Dreyfus Ashby”, to seek out and liberate these rare wines, consigning them to the table of the most inquisitive and discerning imbiber. Each episode represents a single discovery; a precious parcel that is both unique and finite. This particular ‘episode’ from Alheit Vineyards.

“Feet they hardly touch the ground
Walking on the moon
My feet don’t hardly make no sound
Walking on, walking on the moon…

Ever been to the Skurfberg?

Few people have. Its remoteness and altitude suggest that one might as well be harvesting grapes on the surface of the moon.” – Rick.

In The Cellar
Flavour-wise, the grapes were perfect but, with almost twice as much fruit as expected, the concentration these vineyards usually deliver was not quite there. Conceding that not all the resulting wine was ever going to make the cut for his grand vin, he knew he needed to maak ‘n plan… So, whilst we are experiencing a shortfall in the overall production of wines under the Alheit Vineyards label for this next campaign, followers of the Liberator are only set to benefit from the component parts that failed to make the grade. Rick has already proclaimed the result to be virtually extra-terrestrial…

In The Vineyard
No less than a five-hour drive from relative civilisation and six hours back (in order to ‘protect the integrity of the fruit’), it takes numerous round trips to pick these low-yielding, old vine chenin grapes. And this is just one of the extreme sites where our winemaking protagonist harvests fruit from, only to end up as a bi-product of his own highly regarded, and equally highly sought-after wines… The ‘return of midnight bakkie’ suggests a follow up to an earlier Liberator release. It is, although previously, our winemaker had demanded complete anonymity, his face pixelated to hide his true identity. This time, however, his cover has been completely blown… The winter of 2021 was wet, and our pixel-faced winemaker didn’t factor for the potential increase in the crop sourced from his carefully selected vineyards. Historically, having purchased grapes by the hectare (rather than conventionally by the tonne), our boy-wonder was caught on the hop. Too many grapes means too much wine in the cellar.
"In this latest release, we see a “liberated” portion of wine, 875 cases of Chenin Blanc to be exact, secured from the legendary Chris Alheit. Whilst the 2022 allocations experienced a shortfall in overall production for wines under all the Alheit Vineyards umbrella, followers of Episode 42 get to taste and witness the meticulous nature of Chris Alheit himself, as they savour portions of wine deemed not quite up to the grade for the Grand Vin of Cartology. Indeed, the wine is fairly pitch perfect, displaying the archetypal Alheit Chenin aromatics of wet hay, burnt orange peel, peach stone orchard fruits, white blossom, fynbos and fresh honey on white bread. In the mouth there is plenty of flamboyance and pizzaz, with a vibrant, pithy, tangy acidity leading the way to multiple corridors or tangerine, peach and quince fruit complexity. Judged by Chris Alheit to lack sufficient concentration to make the main blend, the intensity of this wine in isolation is noteworthy, packed full of spicy orange peel and pithy wet stone minerality on the long, cool, saline finish. This is everything you could want from old vine Chenin Blanc fruit, and in true Liberator style, makes for a wine that would easily put many more premium producers’ top cuvees at far higher prices in the shade. Drink this now and over the next 3 to 5+ years… though I doubt than many will be able to make their stock last that long!" - Greg Sherwood.
Cultivar Description:100% Chenin Blanc