The run-up to Christmas is not just the “season to be jolly” but also seems to be the season for “25% off …” wine deals.
Most major retailers seem to have adopted the formula in one form or another in recent weeks but, perhaps predictably, the premium discounters take another road.
Lidl’s traditional “Christmas Wine Tour” has been preserved and will be featured in a post towards the end of this month.
Aldi, though, have taken the opportunity to introduce a substantial discount on one selected wine for each of the ten weeks leading up to Christmas.
And I do mean “substantial” with prices at least 25% down and – in one case – at half price.
All but two of the resulting prices are below £4 and those exceptions both involve wines normally costing £16 or so – which both come down to £9.99.
So, I have replaced this week’s Sunday Best with a look at some of the wines being featured in this Aldi promotion.
Two words of warning, though.
Some of these prices fall foul of Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland and Wales and so are replaced by different promotions there.
Similarly, not all Aldi wines appear in every store so be prepared for occasional disappointments.
As is normal here, pictures and hyperlinks are provided where possible to guide you straight to the right wine on shelf or web page.
So, those Aldi Christmas deals.
In my opinion – and with the exception of the wine that concludes this section – the reds in these offers outperform the whites.
Consequently, that is where I have put today’s focus.
Each promotion only runs for a single week so I have included the provisional dates here but do check instore as these could change at short notice.
Starting with one in place this week.
2021 Castellore Nero d’Avola (£3.99 – instead of £5.49 until 6 November – at Aldi and 13.5% abv):
This features a grape that has gained considerable popularity in Southern Italy and Sicily over recent years – nero d’avola.
Medium bodied but smoky, this example delivers herbal cherry and raspberry flavours supported by a savoury twist, good acidity (but limited tannin) and hints of allspice, mint and caramel.
Next our first visit to Portugal
2021 Mimo Moutinho Lisboa Red (£2.99 – instead of £5.99 from 7 to 13 November – at Aldi and 13%):
Once mainly the preserve of relatively unambitious local co-operatives (and usually known as Estremadura) Lisboa is very much a region on the march, as is its neighbour – Setubal over the river from the capital.
This is an accomplished illustration of what that part of the world is good at – and the modest level of its wine’s prices.
Silky smooth and delightfully bright, this has lingering damson and loganberry flavours coupled with floral aromas, modest acidity and hints of cinnamon, marshmallow and minerality.
Head north for a more textured option
2019 Specially Selected Mimo Moutinho Douro Reserva (£3.99 – instead of £7.99 from 5 to 11 December – at Aldi and 13.5%):
If Lisboa is a rising star, Portugal’s Duoro Valley has never been anything but a star for years with its long tradition of brilliant ports to conclude many a Christmas lunch (and other meals).
More recently, it has focused on table wines as well to produce intense and substantial reds like this – my personal favourite from today’s collection.
Dark and dense, it exhibits concentrated mulberry and black cherry flavours partnered by firm tannin – but good acidity – alongside hints of vanilla, nutmeg, black pepper and graphite.
Just missed the deal but still a great choice
2020 Estevez Chilean Shiraz (£5.79 at Aldi and 13%)
The brilliant World Atlas of Wine says “Chile made its reputation as a producer of low-cost, reliably fruity cabernet and merlot grown with enviable ease in the vine paradise that is the Central Valley”.
That says it all really except to add that parts of the Central Valley also make a decent syrah (shiraz) too – as we see here.
Smooth and dark, it contains textured plum and bramble flavours embellished by balanced acidity and late arriving tannin complemented by traces of clove, eucalyptus and dark chocolate.
This guy started off the current ten-week promotion so its price reduction has expired now, but it still offers good value party wine at its list price of under £6.
Stepping up the price bands
That 10-week list includes a couple of more expensive wines that have been reduced to £10 but I was unable to get hold of either of them.
So I cannot offer a steer on Le Grande Sorbier Pouilly-Fuissé (down from £16.99 from 14 to 20 November) but I did try the other one earlier this year.
Back in February I considered Pessac-Léognan Bordeaux Blanc (£9.99 instead of £16.49 from 12 to 18 December) to be “a great example with contributions from semillon, muscadelle and sauvignon gris as well, of course, as sauvignon blanc.”
Smooth and lanolin like, it had pineapple, ripe melon, mango and apple flavours partnered by lime acidity, herbal substance and suggestions of mint, lavender and orange peel.
I cannot guarantee that remains the case but, at £10, it could well be worthwhile finding out.
Friday Night Treat
2020 Chacabuco Torrontes (from £9.45 at www. wickhamwine.co.uk):
I once forecast that Argentina’s torrontes would be the “next big white wine thing”.
Well, perhaps not, but I still love the variety and this typical scented and ripe example shows why.
Smooth with rose influenced aromatics, it brings us textured apple, mango and pear flavours accompanied by fresh orange acidity and a complementary savoury twist.
A background of heather honey then injects just the right sense of sweetness.
There are a few changes on the High Street promotions scene so let’s catch up with them now.
The “25% off” deals ended at Tesco earlier this week but the original single bottle price reductions for Clubcard holders is due to end next Monday.
So, get that trolley primed for action this weekend if you want to take advantage of that promotion.
Next Tuesday sees the end of the main current promotion at the Co-op but there is a “Members Only” deal that is under way now and runs until 15 November.
A £5 reduction will apply when, in one transaction, a Co-op Membership card holder purchases three bottles from the Irresistible wine range.
There are some excellent options in that range (like the one pictured), so Co-op members should take a serious look at this.
And the new ones
A new Sainsbury’s promotion began yesterday for its “main estate outlets outside Scotland”; it is in force until 22 November.
Discounts are being applied on around 50 Taste the Difference wines with prices starting at £6 (for two Italian whites) and £6.50 for another eleven products.
In addition, Waitrose concluded its main promotion on Tuesday and followed it up with their own “25% off when you buy 6” deals so nip across to their website for all the details.
That arrangement ends on 15 November when it will be replaced by the next main promotion that should cover the pre-Christmas period.
Call in again on Monday when the spotlight falls on Top Tips that offer especially good value at a store near you. See you then.
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