Aldi Wine Tasting.
Feature by Lisa Hooper:
Supermarket wine has come a long way in recent years and those of us who watch Saturday Kitchen often see the wine expert picking something off the shelves of M&S or Waitrose. However, not so many of us would think of going to Aldi if we wanted a decent wine to take to a dinner party. This would be a mistake, as Aldi have picked up a number of awards for their wines recently.
Proving that top quality wines don’t need to cost the earth, Aldi have taken the business of sourcing very seriously with a small team of buyers led by Mike James. Mike’s team taste their way around the world looking for the right blends and flavours that appeal specifically to the UK market. Much like M&S, Aldi wines are all own-label, which helps them to keep down the prices. However, if you are looking for something a little extra special in the lead up to the festive season, Aldi have now launched The Exquisite Collection. The other evening, I was invited to go along to a tasting. Obviously some wines are going to impress more than others but for me the following stood out:
New Zealand Freeman’s Bay Marlborough Sparking Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (£9.99)
Much livelier and fruitier than a Champagne or Prosecco (which in this range I found to be nothing special) this wine stood out for its distinctive flavors comprising kiwi, grapefruit and gooseberries. This would make an excellent aperitif or a good accompaniment to fish or shellfish.
Limoux Chardonnay 2013 (£6.99)
I usually loathe Chardonnay and it’s over oaked aftertaste but in this case I was most pleasantly surprised. This had much more of the buttery, vanilla taste of a Chablis but at a much more drinkable price! A good accompaniment to white meat, this would be a perfect match to your Christmas meal.
Clare Valley Riesling 2014 (£6.99)
If, like me, Riesling conjures up images of sweet German wines circa. 1985 think again. This Australian wine is distinctly dry and is packed with citrus flavours. It goes well with seafood and also spicy dishes.
Valpolicella Ripasso 2011 (£7.99)
This is Christmas in a bottle. The aroma is full of dried fruit and nuts. The flavours are comprised from cherry and Victoria plum with the slightest hint of bitter almonds. Again, a nice addition to the Christmas table.
Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois (£4.99)
One of the few wines to actually taste of grapes, this tastes like a whole ripe bunch squeezed into a glass. Deliciously sweet, but not sickly. Although this would be a lovely accompaniment to the Christmas pud, I’m also assured that it goes very nicely with blue cheese. Who knew!
A lot of these wines are seasonal but they should start appearing on Aldi’s shelves this month. Or a selection are also available on-line: