Alto Shiraz 2001

Deep plum with a garnet rim. Good depth. Wild bramble-berry fruit shows excellent concentration, the oak carefully integrated and unobtrusive. Warm, spicy notes make the mouth water. After being poured, the nose opens out immediately. On a light and humorous note: the wine is unbelievably reminiscent of expensive leather handbags. Lovely, well-rounded palate with crushed, mashed berries, smoky cedar and black pastille. An interesting touch of earthiness too. A huge (but elegant), spicy, peppery Shiraz with an excellent length.

Serve with Mediterranean meat dishes like spicy lamb, meat casseroles incorporating red and green peppers, souvlaki or kebabs. A good partner, also, to roasts (including venison) and oxtail or other stews. Excellent with barbecued South African Boerewors (beef sausages), but also with barbecued lamb chops and beef steaks. The shiraz lover would, of course, enjoy drinking it on its own.

variety : Shiraz [ 100% Shiraz ]
winery : Alto Estate
winemaker : Schalk van der Westhuizen
wine of origin : Coastal
analysis : alc : 14.18 % vol  rs : 4.72 g/l  pH : 3.34  ta : 6.73 g/l  va : 0.63 g/l  so2 : 146 mg/l  fso2 : 45 mg/l  
type : Red  style : Dry   wooded
pack : Bottle  closure : Cork  

AWARDS
Decanter Awards 2005 - Gold - Best SA Rhone varietal over $10

ageing : This Shiraz, which is the brainchild of Schalk van der Westhuizen who became winemaker at Alto in 2001, is already quite accessible, but has sufficient structure to last for many years to come. The two traditional Alto wines, namely the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Alto Estate (Alto Rouge) are known for their longevity. Why would the Shiraz-debut be an exception?

in the vineyard : 100% Shiraz (the South African/English name for the classic syrah grape). The SH 1 clone is used here, planted 7 – 25 years ago in deep, red. decomposed granite and clay soils on a north-western-facing slope, 200 400 metre above sea level, and grafted onto Richter 99 rootstock. The vines grown under dryland conditions yielded a very low 3 tonnes per hectare.

about the harvest: As soon as the shiraz grapes reached a Balling of 26 - 27 degrees at the end of March/beginning of April 2001, they were hand-picked.

in the cellar : The grapes were destalked, crushed and fermented on their skins in stainless-steel tanks for 7 days - at 25 - 27 degrees Celsius - till dry. After the completion of malolactic fermentation, the wine was matured in small French (40%) and American (60%) oak (first-, second- and thitd-fill) for 18 months. After a light filtration, the Shiraz was bottled in March 2003.

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