Fons Aaldering is a Dutch businessman who has enjoyed a long career in the food services, so that’s at least distribution sorted out when it comes to Aaldering Vineyards & Wines, the South African wine brand he started in 2004. Aaldering bought a property with approximately 20ha under vine in Devon Valley and to date the wines have been made off-site but plans are to build a cellar in time for next harvest. Dustin Osborne, ex Mont Rochelle, replaced Helene van der Westhuizen as winemaker three months ago.
Current production is just under 10 000 cases and Aaldering enjoys listings in some 250 restaurants across the Netherlands as well as being served to KLM business class travellers so I’m not sure why yesterday’s tasting followed by lunch at the Cellars-Hohenort hotel’s excellent Green House restaurant was necessary but appreciated even so.
Based on this tasting, the only way forward for Osborne is up. The Chardonnay 2011, tank fermented and then matured in older barrels for seven months, is neutral and of no real interest (score: 14/20). The Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009 perplexes in that it shows both green and ultra-ripe character simultaneously (14.5/20) while the Pinotage 2009 is just over-ripe – sweet with notable V/A (14.5/20). The Shiraz 2009 is the best wine in the portfolio with the nose displaying some fragrance before red fruit combined with an attractive herbal edge on the palate. It’s quite pretty but not substantial (15.5/20).
None of the wines are offensive, merely uninteresting but the prices are crazy: R115 ex VAT for the Chardonnay and R165 ex VAT for the reds.