Alto Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation, has been making wine for over 100 years. There have been only 5 winemakers on the Estate in that time. Current Winemaker Bertho van der Westhuizen has been there for a couple of harvests, having taken over the position from his father Schalk. The vineyards from which the Alto Shiraz 2016 are harvested grow on decomposed granite, which one would expect from its proximity to the Helderberg, a region well known for classy Shiraz. The vineyards are trellised on 5 wires and yield between 8 and 12 tons per hectare. Afternoon breezes off False Bay ameliorate summer heat in the vineyards and allow for slower ripening, which results in greater flavour.
The grapes for the Alto Shiraz 2016 were hand harvested and taken to the cellar for destalking and crushing. Fermentations, both alcoholic and malolactic, took place in stainless tanks with regular pump overs for gentle extraction of all the components requires to make a fine wine. Maturation took place in a mix of French [40%] and American [60%] oak, in a mix of new, second and third fill barrels.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is very Alto, very elegant.In the glass, the wine is a deep opaque blood plum at the heart which pales to ruby at the edges. The aromas are exactly what you expect from a wine of this quality – spiced red fruits, sappy ripe plums, a grind of pepper. The palate from entry has a thread of fruit acuity which runs though the generous mid palate into the aftertaste. The wine is weighty on the tongue, the fruit gently supported by the oak and its concomitant spice and vanilla. The Alto Shiraz 2016 has all the components which will blend and soften if cool cellared for a couple of years.
The Alto Shiraz 2016 is a perfect food wine. Serve it gently chilled for maximum enjoyment. It goes so well with our traditional foods like Samp and Beans, perhaps with some shredded slow roasted brisket of beef stirred in. Vegan and Vegetarian dishes are great partners as are our various Bredies [stews], flavoured with tomato, green beens, cabbage and pumpkin. Ina Paarman’s Peri Peri Bean Bredie, is a vegetarian dish chichis an excellent partner to this wine. If you are not a vegetarian, add a couple of braaied lamb chops! Click HERE for her recipe and to view her website.
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