Alto Cabernet Sauvignon is a single estate wine made at Alto Estate. Alto Estate is situated on the slopes of Helderberg Mountain in the Stellenbosch Wine of Origin district. The Estate can trace its origins back to 1693 when it was part of the larger Groenrivier Farm granted to a free burgher by Simon van der Stel (the last Commander and first Governor of the Cape Colony). More recently, in 1919 Hennie Malan sold half of the land to his brother in law and began planting red grape varieties only. The estate remained in the Malan family until 1959 when it was sold to the Du Toit Family. Today it is part of LUSAN Holdings, a joint venture between Distell and international financier Hans Schreiber which also includes Le Bonheur, Neethlingshof, Uitkyk and Stellenzicht.
Alto Estate has some 93 hectares of vineyard under vine located on the granitic slopes of Helderburg Mountain between 100m and 500m above sea level. Hence the name (Alto meaning Altitude). The trellised vineyards cling to the high granite slopes which are ideal for the cultivation of red grape varieties including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Alto Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the CS 46 clone, grafted onto R110 rootstock and planted in deep, red, decomposed granite soil with a clay subsoil. The vineyard blocks are situated at 135 – 475 metres above sea level, facing north. They are between 8 and 19 years old. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was racked into first-, second- and third-fill French-oak barriques where it spent the next 18 months maturing. As with all the Alto wines, Alto Cabernet Sauvignon was first bottle-matured before it has been released. All Alto Estate wines are known for their longevity. Although this wine is easily enjoyed at this stage, the fruit backed by the wine’s excellent structure will carry it for another 8 to 10 years of cellaring.
The winemaker is Schalk van der Westhuizen (who was born, and lived, on the Neethlingshof Estate until 2000).