Alto M.P.H.S 2007 – 2012

The 2012 vintage of the flagship red blend from Stellenbosch property Alto has just been released, and to mark the occasion, a tasting of this and the two previous vintages to date, namely 2007 and 2011. Unfortunately, the 2007 which is available from at R1 144 a bottle is not looking good – a […]

April 21, 2017
by Christian
with 1 Comment

Alto Shiraz 2013

What’s striking about the Shiraz 2013 from Alto in Stellenbosch is just how South African it is; not Rhône or Swartland aping Rhône but South African on account of a certain burliness about it. Matured for 18 months in 60% American and 40% French oak, ranging from first- to third-fill barrels, the nose shows red […]

July 11, 2016
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Tim James: Could great old names be rescued?

An almost inevitable topic came up for discussion among those attending the recent grand match between some old Cape stars and their international equivalents: the modern decline in reputation of wines like Chateau Libertas – the 1959 vintage of which had just given us all great satisfaction. I’ve had, incidentally, many fine old vintages of […]

August 3, 2015
by Tim James
with 0 Comments

Jeanri-Tine van Zyl: Winemaking that’s not about the money

When this platform was still in print, I embarked on a series called ‘Legends’. The aim was to profile the trailblazers and innovators who shaped the South African wine scene in the way we know it today. Those featured held positions across the entire spectrum of the industry, from viticulturists and wine makers to retailers […]

June 24, 2015
by Jeanri-Tine van Zyl
with 0 Comments

Alto Shiraz 2012

Cape Legends is the premium wine division of Distell and when it comes to sheer wine quality, I’m on record as saying that the wines involved generally under-deliver. Alto is one of those in the portfolio and while most of the stuff from this Stellenbosch property has been middling in recent times, I thought the […]

February 16, 2015
by Christian Eedes
with 4 Comments

Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

It’s hard not to view Stellenbosch cellar Alto as a victim of its own success. Take the red blend known as Rouge. Just under 400 000 litres produced annually, selling for R75 a bottle from the tasting room but often marked down by retailers to R55 a bottle – this according to Ross Sleet, marketing […]

June 19, 2014
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 1971

Before the start of judging for this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, the traditional tasting of old South African wines  – whites at least 15 years old and reds at least 20 years old. Meerendal Pinotage 1974, Rustenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 1978, Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon 1967 and Lanzerac Cabernet Sauvignon 1959 were all in great […]

May 9, 2014
by Christian
with 11 Comments

Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

After rating Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 86/100, a somewhat mediocre score for a bottle of wine costing R149, I wondered if I wasn’t guilty of “Distell bashing” and so resolved to try two other Cabs from SA’s biggest producer-wholesaler. First, the Neethlingshof 2010 (R76 a bottle), remarkable in that it is has a circa 1990s […]

March 27, 2014
by Christian
with 2 Comments
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