Origines of the Domaines Van Aalderen
As far back as anyone can remember, travel is a part of life. First, you travel with your parents, and then with life itself. You meet people, lots and lots of people. And as time passes, you set higher and higher standards on the quality of these encounters, these exchanges, and one day, your feet take you to an ordinary place, utterly insignificant yet bucolic and almost romantic. This place has a soul and charm which distills its fragrances parcimoniously as if it were protecting itself, preserving itself, making itself better worth your while. It’s in this protected place, slightly hidden, that someone developed its soil into something strong and successful, someone named Walter, a wine maker. It was in Nizas that this wine maker stopped years ago and made his home. In 1982, after his secondary education and while he was deciding whether or not to embark on a degree in chemistry in the Netherlands, the “young” Walter decided to change the course of his life, under the banner of wine, and leave his “flat country” on a quest for adventure in the wine business… Chance led him to the heart of an Alsacian vineyard in Husseren (8km south west of Colmar), where he found refuge at the house of Kuentz-Bas, a hundred year old trustee of high quality wine savoir-faire stemming from a long tradition. For two years, working as a simple agricultural worker, 12 to 15 hours a day, he trimmed, he pressed, he pruned, he learned about the vines, about the wine… and learned to speak French. Sure of his course and strong in his new language, he began to study oenology in Dijon in 1984. There, our “Candide” of modern times met his “Cunégonde”, his charming wife Nadine, who will not leave him, no more than Walter will leave the cradle of French wine country. After 5 years of wandering, which led him through California, Alres, Aix, and Cassis, he finally planted roots in 1993 in Nizas where a place as a manager of a vineyard of 75 hectares was waiting for him. The land that he discovered then looked like a garden that he would forever desire to cultivate. While working as a manager, he acquired his first plot of land for his own vines in ‘93: 55 square meters on a hill villafranchien exposed to the weather of South-Western France, planted with Cabernet, a warm land which bears the sweet name of Cisso, where he would create in 94 the first batch of this nectar which today amuses our palates and delights our taste buds. In 1997, he decided to work for himself. His friendly agreement with Michel, a wine maker of Nizas, granted him access to a family wine cellar over a hundred years old which he rehabilitated. Today, Walter Van Aalderen cultivates four and a half hectares just outside of Nizas. In 2005, he planted four and a half hectares of vignes west of Gabian, the said place of Bouboulès, at the limit of the zone called “Faugères”. He worked and cultivated his wine alone, as an attentive father, with love and passion until 2011. In the footsteps of his father, his son Paul, after having finished a Masters in oenology in Montpellier and with his first professional experience under his belt on a vineyard in New Zealand, is now working at the vineyard of Bouboulès where he plants his own vines and cultivates his wine in his very own wine cellar. This is the reason for the existence of the two Van Aalderen vineyards. Paul, young wine maker and oenologue walks his own path but still in the wake of his father. He works with the vines of Bouboulès while Walter continues to with the vines of Nizas to create his Cisso, Piffé, and Gravas.
Text written in French by Daniel, a friend of the Van Aalderen family