About Alto

The Estate's sound reputation for producing world-class red wines can be ascribed, in part, to its excellent terroir.

The Estate's sound reputation for producing world-class red wines can be ascribed, in part, to its excellent terroir. It is no coincidence that the area is known, locally, as the Golden Triangle. The vineyards face north, north-east and north-west. In summer, when the vines are drenched in sunshine, the late-afternoon sea breezes that rise from False Bay cool the grapes, thus lengthening the ripening period and preserving the complex flavours of the noble varietals grown at Alto.

Dryland conditions ensure that the vines are shy-bearing, resulting in quality grapes and, consequently, quality wine. It is this outstanding Alto quality which has won the Estate more than 70 gold medals in open competition with the best wines in the world. One of South Africa's most celebrated labels, the Alto Rouge, is a Cape institution for over 50 years and has become known as this country's "own red blend". When asked to name a typical "Cape blend" that is not Bordeaux in style, Alto Rouge immediately comes to mind. The 1995 and 1996 vintages, master blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc, again walked away with a gold medal each at the 1999 Veritas awards. A hundred per cent Cabernet Sauvignon has been added to Alto's output.

Big and powerful, but with infinite elegance and sophistication, the Cabernet drew the spotlight from the start. At Vinexpo 1993 in Bordeaux, the 1984 vintage was the only South African wine to win a "Grand Prix d'Honneur" followed by a gold medal for the 1987 vintage (one of only two South African reds) in 1995.

Other international awards include the Dave Hughes Trophy at the 1994 International Wine and Spirit Competition in London which the 1986 vintage received as the "Best South African Red Wine". The list of world honours continues! In 1998, at a blind tasting in Europe by six of the most respected Belgian sommeliers, the 1982 Alto Cabernet Sauvignon outclassed the likes of a 1983 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild! The Alto wines, aristocrats of the truly big Cape reds, came home to roost.


Alto Estate
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