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Discounter Discoveries – what’s new in Aldi

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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Comments

10 Comments

Matthew Walkley

Great to enjoy the recent Aldi tastings with you and Diana, and I picked up some of the Argentine Syrah / shiraz you recommended a few weeks back as well. We’ll be sampling this weekend. From the recommendations above it looks like I’ll be popping back to Aldi soon! Cheers

Brian Elliott

Great to hear from you and glad you enjoyed the Zoom event. It seemed to hit the spot well with just the right amount of participation. There are indeed some great examples in Aldi and while you are there try to pick up a bottle of their Cremant de Jura – lovely chardonnay based fizz at around a mere £8.

James Thompson

Thanks Brian, we are regular purchasers of the prosecco, it really hits the spot for us.

What are your thoughts on the Aldi Cotes du Rhone Villages?

Brian Elliott

Hi James and really good to hear from you. That prosecco is an attractive option I suspect because it has that savoury dimension that eludes a lot of prosecco at this price. Not tried the latest vintage of that Rhone myself yet but previous ones have been good value and the reports I hear about this one are all largely favourable. Do let us know what you think though … Best … Brian

Eddie Walker

Hello Brian
I’m a massive fan of Aldi wines for their affordability set beside superior quality! To have a bottle(s) of preference on my shopping list and for it to be so cheap as well, gladdens my heart. I use several supermarkets regularly including Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Asda, Iceland and Aldi but it’s Aldi gets most of my money these days for wine, (apart from the Wine Society!), and indeed for their very excellent whisky too; Highland Black and Glen Marnoch Islay malt. The Aimone Italian rosso and the Carcassonne Carignan, such a credible, rustic offering this latter one, and both under £5, are always in my Aldi trolley to replace used-up bottles on the shelf, along with the superb Dao that you have mentioned before, recently.

Just to say the only drawback with Aldi is the regular disappearance of favourite bottles, like that Carcassonne doesn’t come up listed on-line but seems to come back to the in-shop shelf after going ”awol”! But for how long? Like the very excellent Toscana Rosso of a few years back, at £3.99, I fear it might totally depart, never to be had again! And more’s the pity.

So now I must try two reds here that you endorse especially the Grapevine Shiraz at £3.59. I will pitch this for comparison against the Asda Farmers Of Wine red that is currently at £3.99 that I’m a fan of. Hopefully I’ll be spreading my money around evenly in future on these extraordinarily cheap-but-decent reds. The Buenas Vides Malbec will get purchased too. And being an enthusiast for lighter-end French rosé that Provence offering will be tried as well. Interesting what you say about the temperature at which this might best be drunk. I will save it to savour on the first warm-enough day of spring to be sitting outdoors comfortably!
Cheers now … Eddie.

Brian Elliott

Hi Eddie and great to hear your thoughts – I (and other MidWeekers) do appreciate your taking the time make posts even more informative – thank you. As for those new wines you are planning to try I think you will find that the Grapevine Shiraz has much less texture than the Farmers of Wine option so it is (as ever) a question of which style floats each individual’s boat.

Matthew Walkley

Hi Brian.

Loved the Cremant. So much more interesting than most proseccos available and dare I say it most cheaper champagnes. Lidl and Aldis champagne offering not withstanding. Not sure if you’ve sampled the Alsace cremant they sell as well? Also delicious.

The Buenas Vidas Shiraz was a big last night. A little tight initially but opening up wonderfully after an hours decanting. I know they share the same name/brand but do we think both varieties (Malbec and Shiraz) have the same producer? They’re certainly knocking out reds that punch well above their price point.

Brian Elliott

Not sure about the same producer point as there are several other varieties in the Buenas Vidas range. Maybe this is simialr to Aldi’s Pierre Jaurant French range where several suppliers provide the wines that are then brigaded under a single “brand” ….. Doesn’t affect the quality though.

Niall Ferguson

Devastated Aldi have removed Aimone from their shelves…
I will struggle to find a comparable I’d guess?

Brian Elliott

Their stock does turn over relatively quickly but their new Spring and Summer list does contain Castellore Italian Red Blend at £5.99 that may be worth a look. My 22 April post will feature that new list in greater detail.


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