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The grapes for this wine came from vineyards planted in deep, red, decomposed granite and clay soils on a north-westerly slope, situated some 100 m to 150 m above sea level. The vines are grown under dryland conditions and are trellised on a five-wire hedge system. They yielded 5 to 6 tons per hectare.
The grapes were harvested by hand at 26° to 27° Balling at the end of March. After destalking and crushing, the juice was fermented for seven days on the skins in stainless-steel tanks at 25° to 27°C. We use a pumover system. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was aged in wood for 18 months, using a combination of French (40%) and American (60%) first-, second- and third-fill barrels.
Colour: Ruby red.
Bouquet: Blackcurrant and prunes with smoky, spicy undertones laced with berry and fruit.
Taste: Full-bodied with delicate spice, prune and plum flavours, a creamy mouthfeel and a good tannic backbone.
Excellent enjoyed with Mediterranean dishes such as spicy lamb and meat casseroles, roasts, oxtail and even the traditional South African barbeque.
Alcohol: 14,78% by volume
Residual sugar: 4.4 g/l
Total acidity: 5.5 g/l
Extract: 33.9 g/l
Alto, situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in the Stellenbosch district, dates back to 1693 when it was part of a much larger farm called Groenrivier (Green River), granted to a free burgher by Governor Simon van der Stel. In 1919 the owner of the farm, Hennie Malan, sold off half the land to his brother-in-law and set about planting vines on his remaining portion, focusing exclusively on red varieties. He named the farm Alto, a reference to its altitude (some slopes rise as high as 500m above sea level) and his striving for excellence. Alto has 93 hectares under vines. The trellised vineyards cling to the high granite slopes, ideal for the cultivation of red wine varieties.