There can be few wine lovers who have not tasted an Alto Wine. Founded over a 100 years ago, when Manie Malan sold half of his farm, Groenvlei, to his brother and the estate was planted to red wine grape varieties. Since then, there have been 5 winemakers at Alto. Bertho van der Westhuizen, who was preceded by his father Schalk is the current Winemaker.
The Alto Rouge 2017 is a blend of 5 grape varieties hand harvested from the trellised vineyards planted in the decomposed granite soils in Helderberg’s Golden Triangle. The grapes ripen at different times, so are harvested, vinified and oak barrel matured separately and then blended for bottling. The wines were matured for 14-16months in a combination of first, second and third fill barrels, mostly of French and American oak.
The grapes used for the Alto Rouge 2017 and which made the final blend were Cabernet Franc (31%), Shiraz (28%), Cabernet Sauvignon (22%), Merlot (10%), and Petit Verdot (9%). A truly Bordeaux style blend, but with Shiraz adding its spice and plummy fruit.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is simple elegant Alto. In the glass, the wine is an opaque blood plum red at the heart which pales out to ruby at the rim. The aromas are of petrichor, red berries, cherries and plums, a touch of dark chocolate and the oak with its concomitant spice and vanilla. The palate is fresh with the red fruit showing itself in profusion. It is rich and generous with soft tannins and a long harmonious aftertaste.
The Alto Rouge 2017 is a wine for all time. Good for the glass while you wait for the braai embers to get to the right heat. The perfect after dinner bottle to sip at while you put the world to rights. As a perfect match, it would go well with the traditional Sunday Roast Lunch, though any well-prepared meal, even a simple mid-week supper, would be a great accompaniment. Dianne Bibby’s Chicken & Cauliflower Korma is the answer. The wine has soft tannins, so the chili won’t interfere. Click HERE for her recipe and to take a browse of her brilliant website.
Listen to my 60 second podcast – CLICK HERE
Read more about Alto Wines – CLICK HERE