As regulars will know, each month I combine several popular features into one major post that reads more like magazine content than a web post.
The lead item in today’s edition is the latest “Discounter Discoveries” pinpointing new wines (or vintages) in one of the two premium discounters.
Today, it is the turn of Aldi.
Also included are my customary review online wines (Pick of the Clicks) and the look at special occasion wines (my “Sunday Best” feature).
The latest Talent Scout report was also scheduled to appear today but space demands mean that will be held over until next week.
Where possible, hyperlinks and pictures are provided but many of the first selections from Aldi are only available in the company's “bricks and mortar” stores.
Filling Marlborough’s shoes?
With numerous reports of the reduced availability of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, the race is on to provide alternatives – with South Africa and, as here, Chile making good cases.
Versions from Chile tend to be less grassy and assertive than those from New Zealand with, perhaps, more rounded citrus elements and sometimes more tropical fruit flavours.
Possibly without those tropical fruit elements, 2021 Specially Selected Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (£5.99at Aldi and 12.5% abv) nevertheless delivers appealing gooseberry and green pepper flavours that are laced with grapefruit acidity and an underpinning minty (but largely savoury) base.
Classy Greek White
Very much a rising star among Greek whites, assyrtiko has a reputation as supercharged Chablis but, here, its orchard fruit components seem softer and riper than that despite a 10% sauvignon blanc contribution.
Smooth and rich, 2021 Aspri Petra Greek Assyrtiko (£6.99 at Aldi and 13%) features aromatic, yet restrained, pear and baked apple flavours supported by lively lemon acidity, a creamy texture, flinty savouriness and hints of butterscotch.
Ideal summer red wine
With summer approaching, it is time to seek out those lighter reds that relish being slightly chilled and Austria’s zweigelt grape provides exactly that.
Dark in colour but very light in texture, 2021 Specially Selected Austrian Zweigelt (£6.99at Aldi and 13%) has juicy raspberry and cherry flavours with lively acidity, hints of white pepper, chocolate and allspice but minimal tannin.
Gentle, great value red wine
It’s that delightful (if unpronounceable) Romanian grape again bringing us gentle yet flavourful, well priced red wine that is given a boost here with 20% of both syrah and cabernet franc.
Medium bodied and soft, 2020 Dealuri Romanian Fetească Neagră (£6.49 at Aldi and 13.5%) exhibits floral raspberry flavours complemented by cola, caramel and baking spice influences, good acidity and smooth tannins.
Chianti Lite perhaps
The latest vintage has been producing some excellent chianti many of them softening the traditional dense, cherry, nuts and firm tannin features of old.
Here that has been aided by blending in small proportions of cabernet sauvignon and merlot to create a less tightly textured version but one retaining clear chianti elements and, especially, bouquet.
Enticingly aromatic, 2020 Castellore Chianti (£4.49 at Aldi and 13%) provides soft and medium bodied cherry and red plum flavours with good acidity, modest tannin and suggestions of star anise, herbs and marzipan.
To match most MidWeekers’ preferences, today’s selections largely concentrate on wines in Aldi’s physical stores, but the retailer does have a range of online wines.
Here are a couple of them that I enjoyed and felt subscribers would like to hear about.
Turbo charged Malbec
Argentinian malbec often seems lighter and softer than the original French versions but this one from Mendoza has real power with flavours of darker fruits than those raspberry and red cherry elements frequently found there.
Inky in colour and vigorous in style, 2019 Cocodrilo Argentinian Malbec (£9.99 online at Aldi and 14%) has ripe blueberry and prune flavour nicely integrated with lively acidity, sage, chocolate and baking spice components but surprisingly soft tannin.
Famous name but different colour
White Chateauneuf is a niche wine and, frankly, I often find better value in other Rhone whites but this is a stylish and muti-faceted version that is a cut above many and will repay investigation if £20 white wine is your thing.
Textured and smooth, 2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (£19.99 at Aldi and 13.5%) delivers herbal apple, quince and melon flavours supported by good acidity and a finish that merges coconut and chalky elements into a sophisticated savoury base.
Viña Koyle in its current form is a relatively new (2006) Chilean operation with over a dozen red grape varieties under cultivation and this is a wonderful example of its take on what the world knows as grenache.
Soft and full, 2019 Koyle Cerro Basalto Garnatxa (£14.95 at The Wine Society and 14.5%) offers us intense raspberry, plum and cherry flavours accompanied by firm acidity, a touch of tannin and hints of lavender, black cherry and clove that run into a long and complex finish.
While Cȏte d’Or provides the kings of white Burgundy (with, naturally, sky high prices to match), ambitious growers and helpful terrains make the southern Mȃconnais district of Pouilly Fuissé a place for more affordable (but never cheap) quality chardonnay.
Aromatic with a creamy texture, 2020 Pouilly Fuisse Domaine Damien Martin (£22.99 at Virgin Wines and 13%) exhibits clean pear, ripe melon and cooked apple flavours enlivened by bright lemon peel acidity and ably supported by gentle caramel influences and a savoury backdrop.
(Sunday) Best of the Rest.
All great wines that I can thoroughly recommend and award my Seal of Approval.
- 2019 Plaimont St Mont Les Cépages Préservés (£10 at Sainsburys): Balanced quince and honey influenced white wine with sharp tangerine acidity and from local grapes.
- 2021 The Ned ‘Skyscraper’ Sauvignon Blanc (from £9.99 at Majestic): Ripe and intense Marlborough white from an elevated site and containing a fabulous long, zesty pineapple, pear and orange flavour range.
- 2020 Domaine Emile Balland La Balbuzard Sauvignon Blanc (£10 at WoodWinters): Subtle Loire sauvignon with floral aromas and ripe apple, grapefruit and pear components.
- 2021 Whispering Angel Jubilee Edition (around £20 from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Majestic): Fantastically complex rosé opening with savoury and chocolate elements but moving onto red currant and watermelon flavours with grapefruit acidity.
- 2020 Barón de Barbón Oak Aged Rioja (from £10.49 at Laithwaite): Smooth, dense cherry and mulberry centred red wine with herbal elements and bright acidity.
- 2018 Tenuta Serranova Ottavianello (£12.25 at Great Grog Edinburgh): Cherry and blackberry flavours with smoked meat, aniseed and mineral background from the grape better known as cinsault.
Pick of the Clicks
Here is my selection from wines available online but remember there may be a delivery charge to add to the prices shown.
An Italian Smoothie
Its closeness to the English word “suave”, highlights how smooth and refined the best Soave wines (a speciality of north-eastern Italy) should be.
While not all versions get it right, this one clearly illustrates what complex, balanced and skilfully crafted Soave is like.
Slightly viscous with a vague nuttiness, 2020 Fattori Gregoris Soave (£9.50 at www. woodwinters.com) brings us textured, cooked apple and melon flavours, sharp lemon acidity and brine savouriness moderated by honey and orange elements.
Sticking with that part of Italy
Northern Italy’s ripasso techniques pass basic Valpolicella red over the skins and lees left behind from the production of that region’s stellar Amarone wine.
That adds impressive richness and sweetish hints yet the finished article still costs much less than top level Amarone.
Rounded and smooth, 2019 Villa Borghetti Valpolicella Ripasso (from £9.99 at Majestic) brings us concentrated damson and red currant flavours supported by good acidity (but limited tannin) and suggestions of clove, vanilla and chocolate.
Other Rich Clickings:
- 2019 Pepe Mendoza Mares de Luz Monastrell Giro, Alicante (£9.75 at The Wine Society): Blackberry and cherry flavours complemented by traces of thyme, cocoa and the sweeter spices.
- 2020 Classic Sauvignon Blanc, Domaine Beauséjour (£9.99 at Adnams): Floral, with subtle cooked apple, lemon balm and melon flavours and a contrasting savoury finish.
- 2020 Curious Parallel (£9.99 at Virgin Wines): Medium bodied Romanian red with sweetish elements and soft, spicy mulberry and blackcurrant flavours.
Yesterday, Sainsbury’s started a “Buy 6; Save 25%” promotion that is scheduled to run until 2 May. Do check their website for the applicable Terms and Conditions.
Call in on Monday when I reveal my latest Top Tips and again on Thursday when the focus shifts to High Street promotions.
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