There can be few South African Wine fans who have not tasted an Alto Wine. Aptly named Alto, for the Estate is on the slopes of the Helderberg, one of the premium wine growing areas in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. The north facing vineyards from which the Alto Cabernet grapes are harvested, range in age from 9 to 23 years and are planted in decomposed granite soils. Cooling breezes off False Bay ameliorate the summer heat in the vineyards, allowing for longer hang time before reaching ideal ripeness. This adds great flavour and colour to the resulting wine.
The grapes for the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 were hand harvested and taken to the cellar where they were destalked and crushed, with the juice being fermented in stainless steel tanks. After 14 days, the wine was racked off the skins and malolactic fermentation took place. The wine was then taken to a mix of French oak barrels, a mix of first fill, second fill and third fill for 18 months. The wine was then prepared for bottling. All this watched over by Bertho van der Westhuizen, Alto’s 4th winemaker in the past 100 years. Bertho took over from his father Schalk a couple of vintages ago.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is elegant and says all you want it to say. In the glass, the wine is a rich opaque bloodplum at the heart which pales out to a rich ruby at the edges. The aromas are classical Cabernet. Crème de Cassis, Cedar and Oak with its concomitant spice and vanilla. There is also an undertow of dark chocolate and minerals. The flavours from entry are rich and fulsome. A bowl of red and dark berries and cherries and blueberries are to be found in the generous mid-palate. The tannins are soft and cashmere clad. A refreshing acidity runs through the wine. A laster, it could go a good couple more years with cool cellaring.
This is a majestic food wine. Do chill it for about 30 minutes before you serve, it will just add so much to the pleasure. As a bottle on its own after dinner, this child of arguably the finest vintage so far this century, will provide great pleasure. NOMU Foods Short Rib Ragu with Gnocchi ticks all the boxes for me. Click HERE for the recipe and more on their website.
Listen to my 60 second podcast, click the red arrow on the left
Read more about Alto Wine Estate and its wines – https://alto.co.za/