Alto Fine Old Vintage 2008, great partner to Alida Ryder’s Gorgonzola & Pear Risotto with Candied Pears…

Alto Fine Old Vintage 2008

There are so many quotes and misquotes on Port. An old English proverb says something like, “It is the duty of wine to be Port.” There is an old Portuguese proverb which says, “All wine would be Port – if it could!”

Alto Winemaker Bertho van der Westhuizen, and friend, in the Alto Vineyards

Alto Wine Estate is so well known for its red wines, it should come as no surprise when it produced a Fine Old Vintage [A Port style Wine] made from Shiraz. The cool vintage of 2008 allowed for great quality, slow ripening grapes. These were harvested, destalked and crushed. Only a short fermentation was allowed to produce colour and soft tannins. After pressing, the traditional fortification took place using fine Cape brandy spirits. The wine was then matured for a year in 300 litre Oak Barrels. The wine was then prepared for bottling.

Shiraz Grapes ripening on the vine

From a tall elegant purpose made bottle closed with natural cork. The information, normally on a label, is printed on the bottle. In the glass, the wine is a deep purple bloodplum at the heart which pales out to ruby at the rim. The aromas are of raisins, fynbos honey, dark chocolate and soft dried prunes. The palate is so rich and generous, it gives the impression of a creaminess which combined with the dried fruits, marzipan and dark chocolate goes on and on into the long aftertaste. This is an impressive glass full and will keep for a couple of years of cool cellaring.

The Alto Fine Old Vintage 2008 is best drunk at room temperature in winter, and perhaps chilled slightly in Summer. When I was in Oporto a couple of years ago, I was told by a 7th generation Port Maker that France is a big buyer of Port. Much of it is drunk as an aperitif, though Port and Tonic with ice and lemon is one of their hot favourites. Port has an affinity with Blue Cheese, and walnuts. Alida Ryder’s Gorgonzola & Pear Risotto with Candied Pears is a dish with which I would happily drink the Alto Fine Old Vintage 2008. Click HERE for her recipe and to have a browse round her fabulous website.

Dalewood Fromage Lanquedoc

Delicious with a tranche of mature cheese like the Dalewood Fromage Lanquedoc and some homemade oatcakes and sugary pieces of Watermelon Preserve. Good too with some candied mildly chili walnuts and good dark chocolate while sitting before a fire discussing the affairs of the world.

Alida Ryder, on the cover of one of her cook books

Read more about Alto Wine Estate – CLICK HERE

Alto Wine Estate
is our Website Partner


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