The excellence of Alto wines was re-affirmed in dramatic fashion at the illustrious Veritas Awards on Saturday when every wine entered by the renowned Stellenbosch winery was singled out for a medal, including two Golds.
Gold medals went to the Alto Signature Red Blend 2015 and Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – two of only 15% awarded to contenders.
As the longest running and biggest competition in South Africa, Veritas has earned its reputation as one of South Africa’s most authoritative and credible competitions for market-ready wines. Wines are tasted blind by panels that consist of local and international experts. The winners were announced at a black-tie gala dinner attended by some 700 industry and VIP guests, and hosted at the CTICC in Cape Town.
“Winning at Veritas is always a highlight,” says Alto winemaker Bertho van der Westhuizen. “But, having every wine we enter receive a medal, including our Fine Old Vintage, is an indication that quality lies broad and deep – from the diverse vineyards to the cellar – at Alto.
“The accolades are testament to the hard work of many people who share a passion for excellent wine.”
Alto Signature Red Blend 2015 is a Cabernet Sauvignon-led blend and includes Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.
The vineyard ages varied from 9 to 23 years of age and delivered a low yield of only eight tons/hectare. During vinification, the component wines were aged for 18 months in new barriques of French oak, before the desired blend was made.
Dark and brooding in the glass, the wine shows powerful aromas of berry fruit with cigar box and dark chocolate followed by vanilla and oak spices. On the palate, it is a true reflection of 2015 – one of South Africa’s finest in recent years. Elegant and medium to full-bodied, it has soft ripe tannin.
“This wine perfectly complements roasts and casseroles and is excellent served with charcuterie and mature cheeses,” says Bertho.
Also employing French oak in its vinification before maturation for 18 months, the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 reveals a dark and intense plum red colour in the glass. It has a nose of dark red fruit with notes of classic dark chocolate and hints of minerals and pencil shavings. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied and elegant – the ideal partner for dishes of steak, lamb, stews and casseroles.
The Veritas judges awarded Silver medals to the Alto Shiraz 2016, Fine Old Vintage 2012 and Bronze to the Alto Rouge 2016, confirming their achievements at many other recent prestigious competitions.
Among them, the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon and Alto Rouge were awarded Gold at the most recent Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards.
Award-winning British journalist and Master of Wine Tim Atkin’s authoritative annual report on South African wines, released just last month, singled out almost every single wine in the Alto portfolio for a rating score of 90+. He awarded the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 with 93 points; Alto MPHS 2013, 94; Alto Rouge 2016, 90; and, Alto Signature Red Blend 2015, 94.
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 success with which a wine reflects its provenance – its soils, climate and aspect.
The winery’s glittering performance at Veritas once again adds to a legacy of excellence for which the estate is internationally famous.
Alto is located on the Annandale Road off the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West. Here, heritage and tradition, married with evolution and innovation have become hallmarks of the estate.
Stretched out along the steep northern slopes of the Helderberg, it has built a reputation for close to a century as one of the most respected red wine producers in South Africa. Meticulous viticulture and attentive winemaking practice – applied by only a handful of long-serving winemakers – are key elements of this success.
Alto has 93ha under vines, where the trellised vineyards cling to the high granite slopes, ideal for the cultivation of red wine varieties.
Alto is part of Distell Premium Wines, a collection of superlative quality, award-winning wines from several estates situated in and around the Cape Winelands.
Its Veritas champions will be among the line-up available at special tastings hosted countrywide by the competition’s organisers for the next two months. Veritas tastings will be held in Cape Town on 16 October; Johannesburg, 23 October; and Durban, 7 November. Tastings in Port Elizabeth and Knysna are to be confirmed.
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 the Vinotèque.