Alto reaffirmed as SA’s premier red wine estate

Iconic red wine producer Alto marks its 90th year as a wine estate this year with its latest vintages reflecting a proud tradition of excellence. Alto is renowned the world over for its award-winning wines of elegance, depth and complexity.

The lands draping the ancient granite shoulders of the Helderberg Mountain near Stellenbosch that are home to Alto have been farmed since 1693. They used to be part of a larger farm called Groenrivier, translated as “Green River”. It was acquired in the 1920s by Hennie Malan, who set the farm on a new path to exceptional wine making. Hennie and his son, Manie, gave the farm the Latin name Alto, a reference to the altitude of the vineyards, the surrounding mountains and their aspirations.

In the 1960s a new father-and-son team were at the helm – Piet du Toit and Hempies, the well-known rugby Springbok who continued the fine red-winemaking traditions of his predecessors until July 2000 when Schalk van der Westhuizen took over. Reflecting a proud heritage of committed red wine craftsmen, Van der Westhuizen is only the fourth winemaker at Alto in 90 years.

Focussing exclusively on red varietals, the estate has established a well-deserved reputation for its classically structured wines.

“Our vineyards thrive in the farm’s exceptional terroir,” says Van der Westhuizen. “By applying only the most gentle influence in the cellar, the wines retain this sense of place that has won them such great favour in South Africa and overseas for decades.”

The ever popular, Alto Rouge, which has been around since the 1930s, is regarded as the pre-eminent South African wine – a label trusted for its consistency, sublime quality and exceptional value for money.

The latest incarnation, Alto Rouge 2011, is a dark, full-bodied wine with enticing aromas of cigar box, dark chocolate, vanilla and oak spiciness. The wine is the perfect companion to steak, lamb, stews and casseroles.

It accompanies two other new releases:

  • The Alto Shiraz 2011, a big ruby-red wine with notes of blackcurrant and prunes, as well as undertones of berry and fruit. Enjoy it with spicy Mediterranean-style dishes and South African favourites such as oxtail stew; and,
  • The delectable Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, made from vineyards between 10 and 21 years old. Plum-red in colour, the wine radiates aromas of cherries, violets, black olives and touches of dark chocolate and tobacco.

Alto wine estate is situated on the Annandale Road off the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West. More information about the farm is available on its website Alto can also be found on Facebook.

Alto is part of Cape Legends, an extensive collection of superlative quality, award-winning wines from several boutique estates situated in and around the Cape Winelands. To find out more, phone the estate on (021) 809 7000 or send email to #CapeLegends

Author: PR Officer

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