Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

Deep ruby colour with a slightly paler rim. A classic Cape Cabernet nose, evoking nostalgia for the older style encountered less and less these days: Spicy aromas with hints of prune and ripe cherries, together with tobacco leaf and tea-leaf distiness. The nose follows easily through onto the palate to continue the story: Lovely midweight fruit shows cherry sweetness balanced by dry tannins. A nice taut wine with a good acid lift. Excellent concentration shows in the long finish.

The perfect wine to serve with a good steak (a porterhouse or a well-hung rump steak, for instance) or with a Chateaubriand, fine roast lamb, hearty stews and an oxtail casserole. Delightful on its own. Serve at 18ºC.

variety : Cabernet Sauvignon [ 100% Cabernet Sauvignon ]
winery : Alto Estate
winemaker : Schalk van der Westhuizen
wine of origin : Coastal
analysis : alc : 13.27 % vol  rs : 2.4 g/l  pH : 3.71  ta : 5.9 g/l  
type : Red  style : Dry   wooded
pack : Bottle  

AWARDS
Veritas 2003 - Silver
Veritas 2002 - Silver
Michelangelo International Wine Award 2002 - Silver

ageing : Already drinkable, but keeping for another year or two will allow for greater accessibility and yet more complexity. The Alto reds are famous for their longevity.

in the vineyard : The 5 to 16 year old Cabernet Sauvignon vines at Alto, facing north, are grown in soils originating from decomposed granite and clay, situated at an altitude of 135 to 475 metres above sea level. In 1998 these vines were not irrigated which ensured a natural limit (4 to 6 tonnes per hectare) to a quality crop. Grown as four-wire trellised hedges, the vines enjoy a temperate climate, cooled by the sea breezes rising from nearby False Bay. Alto usually has an annual rainfall of 750 mm, but 1998 was hot and dry and the estate measured only 440 mm in the period prior to the vintage.

about the harvest: The grapes were hand-picked in March and reached the cellar at an average of 23.5º Balling.

in the cellar : After destalking and crushing, the mash was fermented with a selected, pure yeast culture (N96) in stainless-steel tanks. Fermentation temperatures averaged out at around 28ºC. After secondary malolactic fermentation the wine was wooded for 18 months in new French-oak barriques. All the Cabernet Sauvignons produced at Alto are first bottle-matured before their release. After bottling, the 1998 vintage was cellared for 18 months.

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