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Discounter Discoveries – Aldi

Unlike its rival premium discounter, new arrivals and limited time wines at Aldi are usually fed into the system gradually.

Lidl, by contrast, concentrate many of their “specials” into a “big bang” Wine Tour every couple of months (May, July etc).

Those “spot date” Wine Tours usually attract considerable – justifiable – publicity including being featured in a Discounter Discovery post here every other month.

Partly because I like symmetry, I have agreed a plan with Aldi that involves grouping some of their new arrivals or popular wines into a Discounter Discovery post on the alternate months (April, June etc).  

After all, Aldi and Lidl both have similar underlying philosophies – reliable quality wines at especially keen prices and a readiness to saunter “outside the box” when appropriate.

For Aldi, that quality point has been reinforced by its recent award of over 70 medals (including two golds and 29 silvers) and commendations at the 2021 International Wine Challenge.  

As for being innovatively nimble footed, Aldi quickly responded to a deluge of Google searches for “At Home Bars” (presumably in readiness for another Covid Restricted Summer) by assembling its own “green list” – but of a different sort.

It contains six specially selected bottles of wine, fizz or spirits that can form the basis of your own Home Bar if you decide to make this a very local “Staycation Summer”.

Returning to the core business though, here are half a dozen – mostly new – Aldi wines that I can recommend as offering great value and impressive quality for the price.

As ever – where pictures and hyperlinks are available, they have been added to the text to help you find and, possibly, buy the wine concerned.

And here’s a seafood starter

Picpoul de Pinet’s source – the prime oyster country around Languedoc’s Étang de Thau) – makes it the perfect wine to drink with seafood and that area’s magnificent 2020 vintage provides further justification for seeking out this tasty and great value white.

Intense and herbal, 2020 Specially Selected Picpoul de Pinet (£5.99 and 12.5% abv) delivers textured red apple, quince and green pepper flavours together with lively grapefruit acidity and gentle saline touches to remind us of its coastal origins.

Coming nearer home

English Wine Week starts this weekend so kick it off with a brilliant rosé that has been assembled using a blend of around 40% pinot noir, about 15% each of chardonnay and muller thurgau supplemented by contributions from six other varieties.

Floral but unmistakably dry, 2020 Specially Selected English Rosé (£8.99 at Aldi and 11.5%) has delightfully clean, red currant and strawberry flavours combined with mild grapefruit acidity and touches of peach and orange peel.  

Remaining in the pink

Having produced the “perfect for its times” mateus rosé since 1945, Northern Portugal is no stranger to rosé wine but – with a mere 7.5 grams per litre of residual sugar – this example shows how far tastes, and the wines that cater to them, have changed.

Built around a classic (but restrained) Vinho Verde prickle, 2020 Mimo Moutinho Vinho Verde Rosé (£6.49 at Aldi) and 11.5%) provides us with bright cherry and red apple flavours which display deceptive depth for such gentle wine but which are supported by tangerine acidity and impressive balance.

Now for a summer red

Hot weather (well we live in hope) and heavy red wines do not mix well so let’s head to Piedmont for barbera – a grape that can produce seriously mature wines but here adopts its lighter, fruitier youthful guise.

Do accord suitable respect to this wine's deceptively high alcoholic strength though – especially on hot days.

Smooth but with an impressive intensity of flavour, 2019 Roberto Ferraris Barbera d’Asti (£7.49 at Aldi and 14.5% but only available online) delivers aromatic cherry and raspberry flavours embellished by bold acidity (but little tannin), savoury edges and suggestions of herbs, baking spices and subtle smokiness.   

Next to the southern hemisphere

Despite its initial popularity in Southern France, the best examples of the inky plummy, almost rustic, durif grape today come from Australia or California – where it is often called petite sirah (sic).

Rich and full, 2020 The Voyage Australian Durif (£8.99 at Aldi and 13.5%) contains dark bramble and mulberry flavours complemented by good acidity, controlled tannin and traces of mint, black pepper and mocha.

Finishing with a sparkle

Current versions of this immensely popular champagne seem to have more saline influences than I remember but, nevertheless, it retains all the creamy, balanced and soft attributes that make it an absolute bargain at £13.

Starting with an energetic mousse, Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut (£12.99 at Aldi and 12.5%) follows up with soft apple, quince and grapefruit flavours, gentle lemon acidity and a creamy texture incorporating both savoury and brioche elements.

Here’s a New Service

I talked about innovations back in the introduction to this post but here’s another one – from a different source.

Our friends at the People’s Choice Drinks Awards, as you probably know, shape the categories in their competition around things like the occasion on which you might be drinking the wine (not its country, price or style).

Now their website allows you “occasion centred searching” to find recommended wine from their list of winners that is ideally suited to the event you are planning.

Do feel free to give it a go.

Just to get everything clear, by the way, MidWeek Wines does sponsor one of the categories in this competition and I am one of its Round 2 judges – but I would be telling you about this new service even if that were not the case.

STOP PRESS

I understand that both Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have just started “ …. When you buy six” promotions and we should have more details on Monday – but check the retailers' websites before you set out as exclusions will inevitably apply.

See you again on Monday with my usual look at current promotions in major retailers and an outline ofthe latest Top Tips.


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Comments

6 Comments

Matthew Walkley

Great to see another Aldi round up, as its probably my favourite of the supermarkets to purchase wine from. We regularly enjoy the affordable luxury of that particular champagne and always keep a couple of bottles on hand for little celebrations. I’ve also got a bottle of the Durif just waiting for an excuse to be cracked. Cheers!

Brian Elliott

Thanks Matthew, Aldi do indeed have some nice wines. Interested in whether my recollections are faulty or has that champagne changed slightly?

Jerry W

Aldi is easily the best supermarket in terms of value for money. I also particularly like the way they don’t try to put their arrogant “own label” branding on everything but let the grower have their due.

Brian Elliott

It is interesting to see how these discounters are acquiring bigger and bigger slices of market share with smaller ranges than the big 4 and controlled costs – managers on the check-outs and stacking shelves where necessary.

David Forsdike

Very impressed with the Vinho Verde Rose which was only £5.99 in my local store. Lots of flavour for the price. Vinho Verde Rose seems to be one of the new big things this summer. Have you tried the M & S one Brian which I believe is £7?

Brian Elliott

That’s a good price David and, as you say, lots of good things currently coming out of Northern Portugal. Many of their whites now focus on a single grape variety and can be lovely while alvarhino is waiting in the wings to provide (in my view) wine that pound for pound is more textured than many versions from over the border in “Green Spain”.


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