I think if you cross questioned 20 wine drinkers, 19 of them will tell you that they have tasted Alto Wine. Just over 100 years old, this red wine Estate is on the higher slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. Alto, referring to height, is perfectly situated to receive cooling breezes from False Bay which ameliorate Summer heat in the afternoons. This means a longer hanging time before perfect ripeness, thus greater colour and flavour from the resulting wine. The Stellenbosch Cabernet Collective sings the song of the greatness of Stellenbosch Cabernet. Alto is part of this amazing story. Bertho van der Westhuizen is only the 5th winemaker on the estate since its founding in 1919. His father, Schalk, preceded him.
The grapes for the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 were hand harvested at the end of March in 2015. Once delivered to Bertho in the cellar, they were destalked and crushed. The resulting mash was fermented in stainless steel tanks. After two weeks, the wine was racked off the skins and malolactic fermentation took place. Maturation of the wine took place in first, second and third fill French oak barrels and matured for 18 months. The wine was then prepared for bottling.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is simple classical Alto. In the glass, the wine is opaque deep bloodplum at the heart which pales out to a rich ruby at the rim. The aromas are of dark berry fruits, blackcurrants at the fore with oak and its concomitant spice and vanilla in support. The palate is rich and generous. From entry there is a line of refreshing acidity which runs through to the long aftertaste, perfect balanced with touches of wet river stones. Dark fruited, blueberries and black cherries included. Nice little umami touch. A truly impressive glass. The wine is eminently drinkable now, though it will reward you further after a year or two of cool cellaring.
The Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is an elegant food wine and a perfect partner to a well prepared meal. Carey Boucher Erasmus’s Oven Roasted BBQ Brisket is the ideal match for this wine. Click HERE for her recipe.
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Click to HERE to read more about Alto and Alto Wines.
Please note that when lockdown is over, the 2016 vintage may be available.