Archive for March 2012

Hosting a Blind Wine Tasting Party

March 29, 2012

Wine tastings are always fun to participate in. To make it much more personal, why not host one yourself. To test everyone’s skills, a blind tasting is in order. Here are a few tips:

There are many ideas for wine tasting party fun, but when preparing for blind tasting, you should decide on a general theme. You can buy wines that are from different countries, regions, or grape varieties. Provide your guests a written description of each wine’s characteristics, such as flavors, aromas, or tannic qualities to look for when tasting. Many of these descriptions can come right from the wine’s label.

You can also choose wines of varying price ranges, from cheap table wines to more expensive quality wines. Your guests must try to determine which wines are the cheapest and the most expensive. No matter what your wine theme is, each guest should be given a score card with different categories to evaluate each wine’s qualities and whether or not they like them.

Before your guests arrive, you need to conceal the identity of each bottle of wine. You might want to remove any foil caps from the wine’s necks as well, to conceal any telltale markings. You  have to mark the bottles somehow that you know what is what.

Like non-blind wine tasting parties, you’ll want to serve your wines from white to red, light to full-bodied, sweet to dry, or young to old. The glasses used for wine tasting are important – each guest will need a large-bowled wine glass in order to properly swirl and sniff each wine.

Each guest also needs a disposable cup to discard any wine they don’t swallow, as well as the all important wine tasting score cards and pencil. The table should have a large container for pouring out any unused wine guests want to discard and a pitcher of water to be used for cleaning out glasses between wines. In addition, you’ll want to have something available to cleanse the palate, such as bread, plain crackers, and water.

Once the wine tasting is complete, each guest should turn in their scorecards and the results tallied. Prizes can be awarded to those who guessed the most correctly, preferably a bottle of their favorite wine. In the end, you and your guests will have had a wonderful time learning about different wines and what makes them so delicious!

Recommended wine: Alto has a fantastic  range of red wines which will be ideal for tasting evenings.



Apple and macadamia crusted lamb

March 27, 2012

In the kitchen one tends to become set in your own ways, using the same ingredients for many different dishes. For a fresh approach on a lovely meal try this fantastic recipe…


100g macadamia nuts

1 small granny smith apple, grated

1 lemon, rind finely grated, juiced

2 tbs roughly chopped fresh rosemary

Salt & freshly ground pepper

1 kg lamb racks, cut into 4 even-sized racks

Olive oil spray

80g pkt baby rocket

1 tomato, quartered, seeds removed, cut into strips

150g feta, sliced thinly


  1. Coarsely crush nuts in a mortar and pestle. Combine with apple, lemon rind and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place lamb racks in a roasting pan. Press macadamia mixture onto one side of each lamb rack. Spray lightly with olive oil. Roast 25-35 minutes for medium. Cover with foil, set aside.
  3. Combine rocket, tomato and feta in a large bowl. Drizzle over the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

The lovely Alto Rouge will pair wonderfully with this dish.




Roast fillet of beef with shallots & mushrooms

March 22, 2012

A splendid meal for any occasion:


  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves , peeled, 4 crushed, 4 left whole
  • 1 beef fillet , about 1.75kg
  • 10 small shallots , peeled
  • a small bunch rosemary , stems removed
  • 350.0g mixed mushrooms , such as chanterelle, oyster and chestnut, halved or quartered if large


  1. Mix 1 tbsp soy, the vinegar, and 3 tbsp olive oil with 4 cloves garlic, crushed. Set aside. Season the beef with plenty of salt and put in a large plastic zip bag with the marinade. Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  1. Let the beef come to room temperature a couple of hours before roasting. Pat dry and season again. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and sear the beef well on all sides, then put it in a large roasting tin with the shallots. Sprinkle over half the rosemary and roast for 25 minutes for rare beef (give it another 10 minutes for medium-rare), cover with foil and a tea towel while you cook the mushrooms.
  1. Mix the mushrooms with the remaining olive oil, soy sauce, garlic cloves and rosemary. Put the mix on a large shallow baking tray, season and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Slice the meat and serve with a spoonful of mushrooms and shallots.

Source: bbcgoodfood

Great quote to go with tomorrow’s Human Rights Day, by our beloved Madiba.

March 20, 2012

I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.

Nelson Mandela.

Win a 3L Bottle of Alto Cabernet Sauvignon

March 15, 2012

We are running an exciting new competition on our Facebook page whereby you could WIN a limited edition 3 liter bottle of Alto Cabernet Sauvignon, perfect for a dinner party of red wine lovers. All you need to do, is to tell us who the oldest red wine estate in South Africa is?

Visit our Facebook page to enter

Fillet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze

March 8, 2012

A perfect fillet is a delicatessen and what is better to appreciate the fine meat with a fine glass of red.

Here’s a fantastic fillet recipe:


  • 2 (110g) filet mignon steaks
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine


  1. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper over both sides of each steak, and sprinkle with salt to taste.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place steaks in hot pan, and cook for 1 minute on each side, or until browned. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add balsamic vinegar and red wine. Cover, and cook for 4 minutes on each side, basting with sauce when you turn the meat over.
  3. Remove steaks to two warmed plates, spoon one tablespoon of glaze over each, and serve immediately.


Special visitor at our tasting centre

March 5, 2012

We had a very special visitor at our tasting centre on Friday afternoon…