The announcement this week of this year’s brightest stars in international wine authority Tim Atkin’s authoritative annual report on South African wines has singled out numerous top achievers. The honour of being among the brightest however, belongs to Stellenbosch red wine supremo Alto Wine Estate, which saw almost every single wine in its portfolio rate a score of 90+.
It is a significant accolade for the winery that has acquired a global following, especially in the light of Atkin’s influence in the UK – one of the world’s biggest markets for wine.
In his seventh annual guide to South Africa, the award-winning British journalist and Master of Wine awarded the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 with 93 points out of 100; Alto MPHS 2013, 94; Alto Rouge 2016, 90; and, Alto Signature Red Blend 2015, 94.
The 2018 South Africa Special Report, released at the biennial Cape Wine exhibition – the leading international trade show for SA wines, runs to over 230 pages and is the product of two trips to the Cape this year, as well as further tastings in the UK and Germany. It includes scores for 2 000 wines that range in price from R40 to R25 000.
For Alto, Atkin’s assessment is a confirmation of vineyard and winery excellence that has been consistently exhibited across a range of competitions.
Most recently in July at the 2018 Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards, the title of Best Cabernet Sauvignon overall was awarded to Alto for its 2014 vintage. Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards highlights the provenance of a wine – its soils, climate and aspect.
This pedigree for quality has been honed over decades. Farming has been underway since 1693 while vineyards took over the farm activities in 1919. The few winemakers that have been at its helm, have ensured a deep understanding of the fruit that Alto vineyards provide.
Situated along the elevated northern slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in what is considered by many as the “sweet spot” for iconic red wine production, Alto has earned its reputation over close to a century as one of South Africa’s most respected red wine estates. Precise understanding of the terroir and the vines that thrive here has been shaped over generations and led to just five varieties being grown on the estate.
Alto is located on the Annandale Road off the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West. It is part of Distell Premium Wines, a collection of superlative quality, award-winning wines from several estates situated in and around the Cape Winelands.
The wines, available at retail outlets nationwide, are found on many restaurant wine lists and can also be delivered to your door when purchased online through Vinotèque.