Alto MPHS 2011
Winemaker: Schalk van der Westhuizen
Background: This year, Alto’s winemakerSchalk van der Westhuizen celebrates his 15th, but sadly last, vintage at Alto. And to commemorate this, he launched his second vintage of his exclusive red wine, the Alto MPHS 2011. The first vintage was the 2007, and although the same red blend has been produced every year since 2007, Schalk deemed it not good enough for the wine to be branded MPHS until now, with the release of the 2011 vintage. The wine pays homage to the exceptional terroir of the Golden Triangle area where the Alto dryland vineyards are situated.
The name MPHS reflects the initials of the four winemakers who have contributed to the excellent reputation of the wines produced on the estate. They are Manie Malan, whose father planted the red varietals on Alto as early as the 1920s; Piet du Toit, who acquired the farm in 1959; his son, Hempies, the renowned Springbok rugby player, who took over in 1983; and Schalk himself, who joined Alto in 2000.
The 2011 is an equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc handpicked from 15 to 20 year old vines. After fermentation (including secondary malolactic fermentation) the wine was transferred to new 300 litre medium toast oak barrels for 24 months maturation. A conservative amount of 2900 bottles were produced from a total of only 8 barrels made.
Result: The wine displays a velvety plum colour and although the nose was somewhat shy, wafts of dark berry fruit and hints of cedar were found. The palate started off with a gentle sweetness from the fruit, developing into a complex mid-palate of generous savoury blackcurrant fruit with mouth-coating tannins which in time will settle.
When to drink: Now till 2024
Drink with what: We enjoyed it with Schalk at Alto with Bourbon basted pork loin, flour tortillas and sweet corn and avocado. Also perfect with matured sirloin and venison as well as mature cheeses.
Expect to pay: R850.00
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