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Lots to savour this winter at Aldi

While I was away last week, Aldi held their Autumn and Winter Press Tasting to showcase what is in their stores – or shortly will be.

Happily, Dave Cronin – a regular MidWeek Wine contributor – was on hand to go along and his report appears below.

Dave also runs an excellent website – Vino Views – which is most certainly well worth a visit.

Other regular features that appear today include Best of the Rest selections and a Top Tip continuing the discussion about “sweeter than usual” red wines.  

As usual, use any picture provided here to guide you quickly towards the wine on crowded shelves – that’s what they are for.

Dave’s Report

“That time of year again when the supermarkets introduce their autumn/winter range so here is a selection of some of the highlights from the ever impressive Aldi range. Offering their core customers great wines at low prices and in their own words ‘making fantastic wines available to everyone’.

Crémant

Looking for a cheaper alternative to Champagne? Then head to the Alsace region in the northeast of France for a more affordable fizz in the form of the 2017 Cremant D’Alsace (£8.29 and 12.5%) a blend of Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Riesling.

Made with secondary fermentation in the bottle as in Champagne but lighter in style with white fruits, peaches, fine bubbles and a floral touch.

Staying in Alsace

Do you enjoy Pinot Grigio but long for something with a little more richness – even full bodied? Then Pinot Gris may well be for you.

Even though they are actually the same grape, different growing conditions lead to a different style of wine. This 2017 Exquisite Collection Alsace Pinot Gris (£7.69 and 12.5% – available from the 1st October) has tropical fruits especially peach and pineapple in abundance balanced with bright acidity keeping it nice and fresh tasting.

Aussie Sovee

Off to South Australia and the (relatively) cool climate of Adelaide Hills for the impressive 2019 Fourth Dimension Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc (£7.99 and 13.5%, available from 1st October) made by the reliable producers Taylors/Wakefield. 

With a crisp aromatic flavour, a touch of grassiness, lemon, apples and passion fruit, it will give NZ Marlborough sovees a run for their money.

An unusual German red

This is something very different from the German region of Pfalz – Black Star 2018 (£6.99, 13.5%, available from 1st October) different but in a good way.

Made from grapes such as Accolon, Dunkelfelder, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Mitos, it is unfiltered and deep in colour but with a surprisingly light feel about it, slightly floral but with a funky edge, blueberries, cranberries and a little herby.

A lovely pair 

Two bottles from the same producer both equally as good, from the Uco Valley in Argentina – 2017 Lot Series Finca La Pampa Barrel Selected Malbec (£9.99 and 13.5%) and 2018 Lot Series Finca La Pampa Barrel Selected Red Blend (also £9.99 but 14.5%), which is today's feature picture.

Both are available from 1st October; the first a 100% Malbec and the other Malbec with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Both have notes of cherry, cassis, chocolate, tobacco, leather and spice. Oaky and firm tannins but not overpowering the dark fruits which still shine through.

Over to Italy

Having a few people around for dinner and find that the bottle doesn’t go very far? Then why not treat them to this Grande Alberone Vino Rosso Magnum (£14.99, 14.5%, available from 1st November).

Equivalent to around two bottles, this is predominantly Primitivo with a splash of Cabernet, Merlot and Teroldego. Perfect to complement a savoury tomato based pasta dish, slightly underlying jammy sweet fruits, some acidity, oak and dusty tannins.

Last but not least

Lots more to recommend so here’s a short summary of some of the other notable Aldi stars…..

White

Yella Belly Clare Valley ‘Citrus Bomb’ 2019, (£7.49, 12.5%, available from 1st October) blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, the name pretty much says it all, lots and lots of citrus fruits.

Baron De Ley Garnacha Rioja Blanco 2017 (£8.99, 13%) Meaty texture, full of herbs, sweet vanilla oak, a little smoke and utterly delicious ***Online Only***

The Wrangler Californian Chardonnay 2018 (£7.99, 13.5%, available from 1st October) with a hint of Marsanne and Grenache Blanc, typical Californian Chardonnay but not too over the top.

Rosé

Vignobles Ferrandiére organic rosé 2018 (£6.99, 12.5%) If you are still up for a Rosé now the summer is fading, this one still hits the spot with its organic redcurrant and strawberry fruit and citrus edge.

Reds

Exquisite Collection South Australia Pinot Noir 2019 (£6.49, 13.5%) Very approachable pinot, red fruits, peppery, smokey and a touch gamey.

Chateau Du Cartillon Cru Bourgeouis 2015, (£11.99, 13.5%) Superb Merlot based Bordeaux from a good vintage *** Online only ***

Lot XI Clare Valley Merlot 2018 (£9.99, 14%, available from 1st October) From Taylors/Wakefield this Lot series small parcel wine delivers on flavour, with medium tannins, acidity and lots of ripe plums, black cherry, chocolate and cloves.

Fortified & Sweeties

Exquisite Collection Fino Sherry (£5.99, 15%, available from 1st November) This is a very nice introduction to bone dry sherry. Experience the salty tang of the sea and smells of bready dough and almonds, serve chilled with tapas.

Berton Vineyards Botrytis Semillon 2018 (£5.99, 11%,  available from 1st November) Apricots, orange marmalade dominate with none of the syrupy cloyingness, still very sweet but it still has acidity and freshness to balance.”

Thank you, Dave, for such a detailed and helpful report.

BEST OF THE REST

A basic red with extra talents

When I see a basic Puglia red, my mind starts thinking about primitivo but, actually, it is negroamaro that takes the lead here and, true to form, it does seem to add a little extra complexity.

So, 2018 Puglia Rosso (£6 – instead of £7 until 30 September – at M&S and 12%) possesses liquorice and nutmeg influenced savoury edges which mingle agreeably with the wine’s medium bodied, juicy plum fruit, bold acidity and relatively limited tannin.

Staying in Puglia for a white

Largely because of their low yields, Italy’s fiano vines almost became extinct but extra investment and enthusiastic winemakers with updated techniques have now initiated a very welcome revival.

See what a soft and delicate white resulted by seeking out Puglia’s 2018 Maree d'Ione Organic Fiano (£6.49 instead of £8.79 until 8 October – at Waitrose and 13%) with its crisp pear, melon (and evolving peach) fruit engagingly supported by firm grapefruit acidity and savoury richness. 

TOP TIP

Top Tip: Note that partnering selected foods with some slightly sweeter red wines has secured influential allies.

I spoke a week or two back about the increasing popularity of red wines with higher levels of residual sugar than have hitherto been considered normal.

With some food, I suggested, that little extra sweetness actually works rather well.

It was encouraging therefore to hear James Martin on Saturday Kitchen partnering his Seafood Calzone with 2017 Bodacious (£8 at Asda).

This red from Portugal’s Tejo region is indeed one with an extra gram or two of residual sugar   

It is a blend of indigenous grapes that brings us smooth, full but not overpowering wine with bold blackberry and plum fruit, good acidity, soft tannin, touches of clove and vanilla and, of course, sweet edges.

Do give it a try. I think it is rather a good example of its style and one that carries its additional sweetness especially well.


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Comments

2 Comments

Steve Shaw

Hi Brian

I’m an aficionado of your blog and am grateful for a good number of your recommendations, pointing us to decent wines at good prices. But today, on your recommendation, I bought a couple of bottles of the 2018 M&S Puglia Rosso. We find it to be thin on fruit, rather watery and pretty charmless. Our benchmarks apropos of southern Italy reds are the 2016 ASDA Negroamaro, six quid, and the Aldi 2018 Firetree Nero d’Avola, an incredible £4.49. We can’t understand your advocacy of the insipid (a matter of taste of course) M%S offering!

All the best

Steve Shaw

Brian Elliott

Great to hear from you Steve even though that particular recommendation failed to delight. I accept that it is much less full that either of the rivals you mention but felt that the juicy cherry and plum fruit and contrasting savoury backdrop compensated for its reduced texture.
Sorry if I called that one wrongly but do, please, keep forwarding your views. It does help me to judge what the majority of subscribers will enjoy ….. Best ….. Brian


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