Pioneering Darling wine estate, Ormonde Private Cellar, releases the 2012 Alexanderfontein White Wines

Alexanderfontein Wines, the popular lifestyle brand within the Ormonde Private Cellar collection, comprises three whites and three reds, all single-varietal wines. The current releases are the 2012 vintages of their Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay.
For more than a decade Alexanderfontein has developed a wide range of customers through their high-quality, aromatic and fruit-driven wines, at prices that have consistently over delivered on value. These well-loved wines are available nationally at leading supermarkets, grocers and liquor stores. With their full fruity flavours and freshness, created by the natural harmony between the fruit and natural acidity, these distinctive wines are typical of the Darling area. Many of Ormonde’s vineyards actually overlook the icy Atlantic, the closest vineyards being only 7km from the coast.

The family of Ormonde Private Cellar’s owner, Theo Basson, are deeply rooted in the history of Darling. Theo honours his father’s role in establishing the Alexanderfontein brand, “The Alexanderfontein name is a tribute to my father, Nico Basson, a pioneering farmer and visionary. He planted sauvignon blanc (and other) vineyards in 1970 on Alexanderfontein in the Darling area, and lay the foundation for what has become the prolific wine producing region it is today.” Their first sauvignon blanc grapes went to SFW (Distell) who used them to establish one of their top sauvignon blanc labels in the early 1970s. Oom Nico later bought the Ormonde farm. Today Theo owns two farms and manages the vineyards of two more, and the future generation of Bassons are playing in the vineyard, learning the craft from a young age.

The Basson family, highly regarded grape growers, built their own 1 000-ton cellar in time for winemaker, Michiel du Toit, to make wine from the best grapes produced by the 2006 harvest. At Ormonde a ‘hands on’ approach in the vineyard and ‘hands off’ approach in the winery reflects their philosophy of allowing fruit and terroir to be fully expressed in every bottle. Ormonde concentrates its efforts on 3 ranges: Alexanderfontein, Ondine and their flagship Ormonde range.

The quality of the sauvignon blanc grown on Ormonde’s farms has been illustrated by the number of high-profile wineries that use these Darling grapes in their premium award-winning sauvignon blancs. In fact, one year, when WINE magazine still staged the Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc Challenge, several of the top ten wines were made from, or contained, Ormonde grapes.

Alexanderfontein Sauvignon Blancs are regularly awarded 3½ stars and above, as well as ‘?Good value’ in Platter’s SA Wine Guide, and have received Double Gold Veritas awards twice in the past few years. The 2012 vintage displays aromas of fig, gooseberry and white peach, gorgeous green pepper and asparagus flavours, a crisp acidity and a lingering aftertaste. It retails for approximately R40.

Alexanderfontein Chenin Blancs are regularly awarded 3 stars and rated ‘? Exceptionally drinkable and well-priced’, in Platter’s SA Wine Guide. The 2012 vintage is a lively, easy-drinking wine with prominent guava aromas and hints of green apple. Its crisp acidity and freshness are in harmony with the wine’s intense tropical flavours, which linger well. It retails for approximately R35.

Alexanderfontein Chardonnay 2012 has an appealing citrus and white peach nose and a creamy palate full of lemon and lime flavours, with good length and lively acidity. This unwooded Chardonnay retails for approximately R40.

The three reds in the Alexanderfontein range are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Shiraz of which the 2009 vintages are now commercially available.

Ormonde Private Cellar is literally situated in the town of Darling. In fact, Mount Pleasant Street ends with the discovery of this hidden gem; striking farm gates, attractive tasting facilities with a kids’ play-park, and the stately homestead, with 400 hectares of vineyards rolling up into the hills behind the village. They are open for wine-tasting Mondays to Saturdays and on public holidays. Picnics and vineyard tours need to be booked in advance. Telephone: 022 492 3540 | E-mail: info@ormonde.co.za | Website: www.ormonde.co.za