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A Couple of Sound £6 Wines Today

Good news on the pricing front guys.

While £7 is likely to be the new normal for wines that reach the quality standard to be recommended here, I have managed to set a £6 limit today.

General price inflation is one reason why that will be the exception but specific wine-related factors are also at work (a bottle shortage in France is the latest).

Still, let’s “make hay while the sun shines”.

Oak is also a bit of theme today.

Appropriate and disciplined barrel aging in Rioja is one reason its wine remains popular.

And we have a brilliantly priced example from a good year to illustrate the point today.

Its white partner is a South African chenin blanc that shows how well that variety responds to barrel fermentation – rather than, say, the use of stainless steel tanks.

Flavour, texture and softness all seem to change when this (admittedly more expensive) method is adopted.

In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.

So, Barrel fermentation at work

2021 Extra Special Chenin Blanc (£6 – instead of £7 until 8 March – at Asda and 13.5% abv): 

Fermentation in oak (as has happened with this South African white) usually leaves fewer (and less powerful) influences on wine than aging in oak does.

Nevertheless, it can still leave fingerprints in the finished wine’s flavour range and texture, as we see here.

Soft with an attractive creamy texture, this example’s main components are smooth pear, peach and melon flavours.

Lemon acidity is also in evidence, as are relatively subtle oak elements such as its traces of jasmine and marzipan.

Back to Europe for more great value

2016 Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva (£5.75 at Aldi and 13.5%)

Helpful weather conditions that autumn – and, consequently, good quality grapes – mean that the 2016 Rioja vintage is a good one to seek out.

Five or more years of subsequent maturation give many of that year’s wines smoky and vanilla elements that work well with the richness 2016 reds often exhibit.

Some of those characteristics are clearly on display here.

Full yet nicely smooth, the wine’s main flavour range includes bright cherry and ripe raspberry elements.

Those aspects are coupled with good acidity and firm tannin as well as suggestions of menthol, cedar and star anise.

See you again on Thursday when the task is to compare wine at different price points to see whether heading further up the price ladder can sometimes pay off.

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Eddie Walker

Prescient stuff Brian. I had a bottle of the Asda Rioja here, over this very weekend gone. I don’t usually drink a lot of Rioja but this was very enjoyable of its type and moreso because it was that £5.75. Amazing to be able to have such a decent bottle for that value money at this time of massive price hikes of other ”grocery” products, even in the so-called budget price style supermarkets. Cheers now …

Brian Elliott

You are ahead of the game as ever, Eddie, even if only by 24 hours! Like you, I was hugely impressed by the value for money on display here.


Dorothy Walker London
Excellent reviews – Olfactory and palate hIts makes you think about what flavours and smells you’re getting.

Brian Elliott

Thank you Dorothy. I know saying too much about flavours can seem a bit nerdy and, of course, individual perceptions of those flavours can vary. However, I look at it this way. Just as what you smell prepares your taste buds for what is to follow, then a detailed review prepares your nasal sensors for what they are about to encounter. I accept that all that may sound a bit fanciful and, if so, my advice is simple – just relax and enjoy the wine; absolutely nothing wrong with doing that.

Claire Jenkins

I’ve been quietly pleased with the 2017 Rioja from Lidl of late, although I now feel a little trip to Aldi coming on to go back in time a little further!

Brian Elliott

Good to hear from you Claire and “quietly pleased” is a lovely expression that I may well steal. I do feel that both premium discounters offer sound examples of Rioja at excellent prices so regularly switching between the two may be a good plan.

Claire Jenkins

Steal away!
I’m also trying a Hungarian red that they had available this week, so I’ll see what I make of that, but it looked quite interesting and worth a go.
I’ll certainly be keeping the other one in mind when I’m next in the other place though.

Brian Elliott

Eastern Europe is a bit of a happy hunting ground at the moment. Excellent examples of pinot noir at good prices for instance but also attractive wines made from indigenous varieties little known elsewhere. Do let us know how you get on with it

David E

Hi Brian,
The bottle in your pic (and on the Aldi website) both show the 2017 vintage, as are the stocks in my local Aldi. You refer to the 2016 vintage above, so are we talking about a different wine?

Brian Elliott

Yes we are talking about a different wine as it was the 2016 that Aldi provided and the next vintage was quite different. Happily, though, Phil has tried the 2017 and speaks highly of it – see his comment to this post.

Phil Manning

Can thoroughly recommend the 2017 vintage of the Rioja on sale at my local Aldi. Must rate as one of the best wines on offer in supermarkets at present.

Brian Elliott

That’s really helpful, Phil., as it was by no means clear that this was a split vintage in stores when I sampled the 2016.

Chris Barclay

Well a thought for all you bargain hunters out there; I had clarity issues as to whether Eddie’s Asda wine was the same as Brian’s Aldi wine so I Googled Asda Rioja only to find more bargains. A Gran Reserva and 3 fabulous Asda Rioja’s none of which were £5.75 but were silver and bronze medal winners nevertheless.

Brian can I award you a gold medal for stirring all us “disciples” into action and priming us to get out there hunt the shelves with the tools of war! Experimentation is also added into the mix by the changing vintages however the best positioned vineyards combined with the best winemakers can often snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Trade up and trade down however best to trade quality!

Brian Elliott

As you suggest, Chris., it can be very rewarding to uncover an enjoyable wine concealed in a modest place on a list. Good winemakers can certainly make excellent wine from initially unpromising components. Equally though, I encounter a few instances where prestigious names appear on seriously disappointing wines. It is very much trial and error. While all have similar maturation requirements, not all gran reservas are born equal in terms of drinking quality.

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