Welcome to the Western Cape Wineries - a kiwi's opinion blog

I originally set up this blog to help foreigners have an enjoyable experience when visiting the western cape wineries in South Africa.

I realised that it is very difficult for a tourist to choose where to go and which wineries to visit, when you have 600+ wine producers to choose from.

When I first moved to SA December 2010, my palate struggled to adjust to SA wine, b
ut after living here for a while and after visiting over 100+ wine estates, I have found many wines which I really like and can highly recommend.

Admittingly, when you come from another country it is hard not to compare the wine in SA to what you are used to back home. However, once you realise they are not the same (they have their own characteristics due to the different soil, climate etc) and appreciate their wines for being SA wines, it will improve your opinion and experience of the wines immediately.

If you are staying in SA for a while, don't dispair, your palate will change, and you will soon find yourself liking SA wine over your home countries wine!!

I hope my blog will help wine lovers have an enjoyable wine experience while in SA.

Please note: I am not a wine connoisseur. The comments I write about the wine is mostly for my own benefit of having them on record.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


Today we went to Alto for our Valley Wine Club. Mellissa Smit was the host of the evening. She set up a pate and wine tasting for us. This is R50 per person. It includes a tasting of three wines with matching pates. If you want to do a wine tasting only it is R10 for a tasting of 3 wines and a port tasting is R10.

I like the decor at Alto. They have a nice outdoor patio with outdoor furniture for you to enjoy your tasting outside. Alternatively you are welcome to sit inside beside the fireplace in winter or you can perch yourself on one of the bar stools and enjoy the tasting at the wine bar.

The vibe here is very nice and I feel it has a lot to do with the decor of the place. I have now been  here twice and enjoyed it both times.

We started with the Alto Rouge 2011 (R65 a bottle) which was served with smoked chicken pate. Followed by the Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (R150 a bottle) Snoek Pate and then the Alto Shiraz 2010 (R150 a bottle) with chicken liver pate. All were matched very nicely but my favourite was definitely the Cabernet Sauvignon with the snoek pate. We finished the tasting with the Alto Fine Old Vintage 2006 (R250 a bottle) which is a port and it was divine. Absolutely my favourite, I couldn't resist buying a bottle!!

My notes on the wine:
The Alto Rouge is a beautiful, soft, fruity wine. It has lovely berry flavours, it is very nice.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 is interesting, it has earthy and savoury aromas, slightly dry tannins. This wine paired so nicely with the smoked snoek pate!!

Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - this was such a treat being able to taste this older vintage!! It was delicious!! It reminded me slightly of sherry (maybe on the nose more than the palate), it was fruity, smooth and yum!! I loved it!! If you can get your hands on this vintage then I highly recommend buying it!!

Shiraz 2010 won double gold in Michelangelo 2012 competition. It is heavier than the other wines, with lovely berry and spicy flavours. It is a little dry and probably best served with food.

The port is 100% Shiraz and it was smooth and delicious. A must have!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed the tasting at Alto. It was informative, interesting, the wine is fantastic and of good quality, and we were made to feel very welcome here. I highly recommend visiting Alto. I especially recommend doing the pate and wine pairing.

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