Britain’s two premium discounters (Lidl and Aldi) have things in common with MidWeek Wines.
In respect of wine, we all sing from the same “wallet-friendly but trusty hymn sheet”.
This embodies the simple recognition that all most people want is dependable quality wine at a fair but modest price.
Lidl bolsters progress towards that objective with Wine Tour promotions every other month; they are frequently featured here.
While also treading that value tightrope between price and quality, Aldi pursues a different policy.
Their limited life wine parcels are grafted onto the ongoing wine list as they become available.
While entirely logical, the effect is that new arrivals do not always get the same concentrated publicity that Lidl’s Wine Tours enjoy.
To help even things up slightly, I have developed this Discounter Discoveries feature which, sandwiched – this time – between Lidl's January and March Wine Tours, looks at what is currently new in Aldi.
New in this context means not just recent additions to their list but also old favourites that have possibly been re-packaged or have just moved on to the next vintage.
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.
Starting with a rosé
When I first sampled this (at just above fridge temperature), the omens were not good – but the 70+ reviews on the Aldi website with an average of five stars convinced me not to be too hasty.
Sure enough, I had been ignoring my own advice about over-chilling wine and, when this guy approached around 12 degrees, the background harshness completely disappeared and those elusive fruit-style flavours came bounding out of cold storage.
Then, subtle and floral constituents started to emerge from Specially Selected Coteaux Varois en Provence (£6.49 and 13.5% abv) to reveal delicate strawberry and red currant flavours, underpinning rhubarb dryness and tangerine based acidity – along with touches of fennel and aniseed too.
Masterclass in using oak
Ten-pound wine in Aldi is not a common occurrence but all is revealed when you see that this one involves Margaret River chardonnay and wine making overseen by Larry Cherubino (whom Berry Bros describe as “a dynamo in the esteemed Western Australian wine industry”).
However, this is not wine for lovers of high octane, fruit dominated chardonnay but will nevertheless delight those who tend towards more subtle manifestations.
That is especially true as the wine represents an object lesson in how to use oak to enhance the variety’s charms without elbowing everything else aside.
So, I especially appreciated the subdued sophistication of 2018 Australian Margaret River Chardonnay (£9.99 and 13% but only available online at the moment) and the smooth, oak influenced apple, melon and peach flavours it provides – neatly accompanied by lime acidity but with vanilla and toffee elements too.
Moving on to reds
An increasing trend, particularly among bargain priced red wines, is to create offerings with vivid fruit elements but almost no tannin and relatively little texture either.
This is one such wine (with an amazingly low price) but the whole package has proved to be a winner because it was recently awarded a silver medal in the Drinks Business Syrah Masters awards – against stiff opposition.
Light, bold and bright, Spain's Grapevine Shiraz (£4.69 in Scotland and Wales but £3.65 elsewhere and 12.5%) has sweet edged raspberry and red cherry flavours with suggestions of baking spice and cola but minimal tannin and only very modest texture.
And more traditional red
Rather more conventional and with welcome savoury counterbalances, this malbec is from Argentina’s elevated Uco Valley which many consider the most exciting part of that country’s wine regions and where vines are often pushed to their limits (especially in respect of altitude).
Dark in colour yet surprisingly soft, 2020 Specially Selected Buenas Vides Malbec (£5.79 and 14%) delivers plum and loganberry flavours, cinnamon, dark chocolate and anise components with firm tannin but good balancing acidity and graphite minerality.
Now for some bubbles
A firm favourite with Aldi website users, this organic prosecco has more complexity than much similarly priced prosecco with more texture than is normal and some, equally hard to find, pronounced savoury elements too.
Despite its apparently lazy bubbles, Organic Prosecco Extra Dry (£7.99 and 11%) has a lively mouthfeel nicely embedded in apple and ripe pear flavours with pithy lemon acidity, savoury and cream soda touches wrapped in an attractive creamy texture.
Let’s meet again – on Monday – when I take my weekly look at supermarket promotions and reveal my latest Top Tips. Hope to see you then.
And after that – our Zoom tastings of course
Two simple things can significantly increase most people’s wine-related knowledge and confidence. One is being able to compare two wines side-by-side and the other is having a someone to talk you through that process.
Our Uncorking MidWeek Zoom tastings will give you both of them so hurry across to the website and snap up one of the remaining places for the next ones.
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