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Chill Out with Aldi’s Admirable Summer Wines

An encouraging look ahead to some of the wines that Aldi stores will have for us this summer.

While commentators often broadly bracket Aldi and Lidl together, those retailers do have discernible differences when refreshing their wine ranges.

Lidl showcase their special offerings in regular (now monthly) Wine Tours while Aldi seem to prefer concerted macro-level changes two or three times a year.

Their Spring and Summer collection represents one such change – and an opportunity to build on the company’s hugely successful Christmas offerings.

That is important to Aldi because the wine segment plays a significant part in their sustained success.

Looking at the specifics of the latest collection, there seem to be three main objectives:

  • Introducing intriguing new products such as off-the-beaten-track wines,
  • Sourcing keenly priced options that benchmark well against notable brands, and,
  • Continuing with a core range featuring the Aldi prices customers now expect.

Today, then, I take a look at a selection of that collection’s components.

Once again, pictures and hyperlinks are included where possible to make it easier to track down the wine in question.

Starting with a classy white

2022 Freeman’s Bay Pinot Gris (£8.69 at Aldi and 12.5% abv):

If you have yet to catch up with the delights of New Zealand pinot gris, this example from Gisborne is an ideal place to start.

Its balance and complexity are so far removed from hot country, ripe, perfumed pinot grigios that it makes you doubt whether it is actually the same grape.

Soft with a mildly herbal aura, this version’s centre pieces are bright melon, passionfruit and ripe pear flavours.

Neatly, though, they are embellished by suspicions of sweetness that could make the wine taste off-dry without the sharp, sherbet based, counteracting lime acidity.

Switching to the reds

2018 Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva (£5.99 at Aldi and 13.5%):

This impressive reserva is a great illustration of that second bullet point above.

Benchmark a style and brand you want to emulate and exhaustively seek out a source that gets close to the quality – but at an Aldi price.

Building on an initial fruit-based nose, this quickly develops smooth cherry, loganberry and sugar plum flavours.

These are then supported by acidic freshness (but limited tannin) and suggestions of menthol, vanilla and mocha within a medium bodied texture.

NB: Prices may vary on this.

Next to Italy

2022 Specially Selected Castellore Malvasia Nera (£8.69 at Aldi and 13.5%):

And so to an “off-the-beaten-track” option – made, in this case, from the black form of the lovely, peachy malvasia – and ideal as a summer red.

The variety is produced in several parts of Italy and this example, from Puglia, typifies its floral and dark fruit richness.

It is light in texture with attractive ripeness and delivers nicely balanced raspberry and red plum flavours with lively acidity, but little tannin.

Partnering components include allspice and oregano traces and a finish that manages to embody both sweetness and a mineral edge.

NB: Again, there may be some minor price variations.

Now one for the future

2022 Estevez Chilean Malbec Reserva (£7.49 at Aldi and 14%):

While the firmness of its tannin argues against this for immediate drinking unless it is decanted, the eventual finesse and complexity of this malbec shine through brightly.

It is not from Argentina but from Bio Bio in Chile where the coolness of its southerly clime and extra rainfall are producing very distinctive wines.

Intense and dark in colour, this features smoke and slate influenced blackberry, damson and mulberry flavours.

While (as I say) the tannin needs to soften a little, the wine’s gentle acidity and accompanying clove, black pepper and dark chocolate elements are clear indications of its excellence.

Finally to a rosé

2023 Toro Loco Bobal Rosé (£5.99 at Aldi and 11%):

Normally a vivid pink colour and initial effervescence would be a warning, but this rosé from Spain’s Utiel-Requena region bucks my (probably over-simplistic) rule.

It is actually a light, pleasant, straight forward “summer afternoon in the garden” wine and, like its red equivalent, good value.

Opening with floral aromas, it brings us soft and gentle cherry, red apple and red currant flavours coupled with a savoury celery style twist but tart acidity.  

Waitrose Muti-buy Promotion

A new “25% off” promotion has just started at Waitrose and is scheduled to run until Tuesday. Details appear on their website but do check for small print exclusions and the usual geographic limitations.

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