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Discounter Discoveries – Aldi

Discounter Discoveries look out for what's new or hot in the UK's main premium discounters and this month turns the spotlight on Aldi.

Unlike its rival premium discounter, new arrivals and limited time wines at Aldi are usually fed into the system gradually.

Lidl, by contrast, concentrate many of their “specials” into a “big bang” Wine Tour every couple of months (May, July etc).

Those “spot date” Wine Tours usually attract considerable – justifiable – publicity including being featured in a Discounter Discovery post here every other month.

Partly because I like symmetry, I have agreed a plan with Aldi that involves grouping some of their new arrivals or popular wines into a Discounter Discovery post on the alternate months (April, June etc).  

After all, Aldi and Lidl both have similar underlying philosophies – reliable quality wines at especially keen prices and a readiness to saunter “outside the box” when appropriate.

For Aldi, that quality point has been reinforced by its recent award of over 70 medals (including two golds and 29 silvers) and commendations at the 2021 International Wine Challenge.  

As for being innovatively nimble footed, Aldi quickly responded to a deluge of Google searches for “At Home Bars” (presumably in readiness for another Covid Restricted Summer) by assembling its own “green list” – but of a different sort.

It contains six specially selected bottles of wine, fizz or spirits that can form the basis of your own Home Bar if you decide to make this a very local “Staycation Summer”.

Returning to the core business though, here are half a dozen – mostly new – Aldi wines that I can recommend as offering great value and impressive quality for the price.

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.

And here’s a seafood starter

Picpoul de Pinet’s source – the prime oyster country around Languedoc’s Étang de Thau) – makes it the perfect wine to drink with seafood and that area’s magnificent 2020 vintage provides further justification for seeking out this tasty and great value white.

Intense and herbal, 2020 Specially Selected Picpoul de Pinet (£5.99 and 12.5% abv) delivers textured red apple, quince and green pepper flavours together with lively grapefruit acidity and gentle saline touches to remind us of its coastal origins.

Coming nearer home

English Wine Week starts this weekend so kick it off with a brilliant rosé that has been assembled using a blend of around 40% pinot noir, about 15% each of chardonnay and muller thurgau supplemented by contributions from six other varieties.

Floral but unmistakably dry, 2020 Specially Selected English Rosé (£8.99 at Aldi and 11.5%) has delightfully clean, red currant and strawberry flavours combined with mild grapefruit acidity and touches of peach and orange peel.  

Remaining in the pink

Having produced the “perfect for its times” mateus rosé since 1945, Northern Portugal is no stranger to rosé wine but – with a mere 7.5 grams per litre of residual sugar – this example shows how far tastes, and the wines that cater to them, have changed.

Built around a classic (but restrained) Vinho Verde prickle, 2020 Mimo Moutinho Vinho Verde Rosé (£6.49 at Aldi) and 11.5%) provides us with bright cherry and red apple flavours which display deceptive depth for such gentle wine but which are supported by tangerine acidity and impressive balance.

Now for a summer red

Hot weather (well we live in hope) and heavy red wines do not mix well so let’s head to Piedmont for barbera – a grape that can produce seriously mature wines but here adopts its lighter, fruitier youthful guise.

Do accord suitable respect to this wine’s deceptively high alcoholic strength though – especially on hot days.

Smooth but with an impressive intensity of flavour, 2019 Roberto Ferraris Barbera d’Asti (£7.49 at Aldi and 14.5% but only available online) delivers aromatic cherry and raspberry flavours embellished by bold acidity (but little tannin), savoury edges and suggestions of herbs, baking spices and subtle smokiness.   

Next to the southern hemisphere

Despite its initial popularity in Southern France, the best examples of the inky plummy, almost rustic, durif grape today come from Australia or California – where it is often called petite sirah (sic).

Rich and full, 2020 The Voyage Australian Durif (£8.99 at Aldi and 13.5%) contains dark bramble and mulberry flavours complemented by good acidity, controlled tannin and traces of mint, black pepper and mocha.

Finishing with a sparkle

Current versions of this immensely popular champagne seem to have more saline influences than I remember but, nevertheless, it retains all the creamy, balanced and soft attributes that make it an absolute bargain at £13.

Starting with an energetic mousse, Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut (£12.99 at Aldi and 12.5%) follows up with soft apple, quince and grapefruit flavours, gentle lemon acidity and a creamy texture incorporating both savoury and brioche elements.

Here’s a New Service

I talked about innovations back in the introduction to this post but here’s another one – from a different source.

Our friends at the People’s Choice Drinks Awards, as you probably know, shape the categories in their competition around things like the occasion on which you might be drinking the wine (not its country, price or style).

Now their website allows you “occasion centred searching” to find recommended wine from their list of winners that is ideally suited to the event you are planning.

Do feel free to give it a go.

Just to get everything clear, by the way, MidWeek Wines does sponsor one of the categories in this competition and I am one of its Round 2 judges – but I would be telling you about this new service even if that were not the case.

STOP PRESS

I understand that both Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have just started “ …. When you buy six” promotions and we should have more details on Monday – but check the retailers’ websites before you set out as exclusions will inevitably apply.

See you again on Monday with my usual look at current promotions in major retailers and an outline ofthe latest Top Tips.

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27 Responses

  1. Great to see another Aldi round up, as its probably my favourite of the supermarkets to purchase wine from. We regularly enjoy the affordable luxury of that particular champagne and always keep a couple of bottles on hand for little celebrations. I’ve also got a bottle of the Durif just waiting for an excuse to be cracked. Cheers!

  2. Thanks Matthew, Aldi do indeed have some nice wines. Interested in whether my recollections are faulty or has that champagne changed slightly?

  3. Aldi is easily the best supermarket in terms of value for money. I also particularly like the way they don’t try to put their arrogant “own label” branding on everything but let the grower have their due.

  4. It is interesting to see how these discounters are acquiring bigger and bigger slices of market share with smaller ranges than the big 4 and controlled costs – managers on the check-outs and stacking shelves where necessary.

  5. Very impressed with the Vinho Verde Rose which was only £5.99 in my local store. Lots of flavour for the price. Vinho Verde Rose seems to be one of the new big things this summer. Have you tried the M & S one Brian which I believe is £7?

  6. That’s a good price David and, as you say, lots of good things currently coming out of Northern Portugal. Many of their whites now focus on a single grape variety and can be lovely while alvarhino is waiting in the wings to provide (in my view) wine that pound for pound is more textured than many versions from over the border in “Green Spain”.

  7. Good to see some of the new Aldi wines, thanks Brian. And to see their wine selection getting the credit it deserves.

    As always, Eddie’s multi buy tips are most helpful.

  8. Great stuff about Aldi today Brian. I am a big fan of so much they have given us over the years and sadly bottles that have come and gone.

    Time and tide and publishing copy deadlines wait for no-man it seems. As Asda had the drop on everyone with an announcement 2 days ago for their Bank Holiday/Coronation Weekend Special offer of 25% off buy-6 bottles Sainsbury’s came in quickly on the rails with their details. And details can be important as Waitrose, Tesco and Morrisons also join the show now! The latter only gives the deal on the purchase of 6 bottles in one transaction. OK if you want more just check two or more separate purchases on the till belt, but you will need to have multiples of six doing that. Online orders can only be the one maximum of six included for each order.

    The rest seem to be if you buy 6 or MORE, then the deal applies to whatever number of bottles purchased up to the maximum. But then check to see when deals end, that are not all the same, to make sure you don’t miss out on what you prefer!

    Just a thought here about maximising the effect of going for a few of your favourites. One that jumped up straightaway for me is a popular one of many readers here I think, the excellent Spanish red Mucho Mas. Both Morrisons and Tesco have it but the difference in the discounted price is evident. Tesco will work out at £6 but Morrisons is £4.88, if those pennies do matter to you. And the Tesco deal just to remind folks is with a Clubcard!!!

    1. Thanks for the update, Eddie. As you can see from Julian’s comment, your efforts on that front are appreciated – even though it must feel like an ever changing picture.

  9. Morning Brian,

    Waitrose started their 25% iff 6 bottles (priced over £5) yesterday – until 9th May. I think they remove other offers, so no double discounts!

    Must try the Greek Chardonnay from Aldi. I tasted the Wine Society’s “Greek White” yesterday, lovely mix of Moschofilero and roditis, good value at £8.95. (M&S do a similar mix wine in their Found range). There was also (at the Wine Society Tasting) side by side bottles of a 2020 Chiroubles (£11.95, 13.5%, drink until 2025) and a 2021 Greek Xinomavro (£12.50, 13%, drink until 2025) – both could be served chilled. Two really charming wines – so much interesting good value stuff around!

    1. Thanks for news of the Waitrose promotion – they seem to be coming thick and fast, often with minimal notice to those of us keen to give them publicity. On the other point, I would be interested in your views on that Greek chardonnay. Seemed an almost classic style to me.

  10. Tried the 4 Winemakers Malbec 2022 from the Co-Op and found it very ordinary. Certainly nothing special.

  11. In Tesco last weekend I noticed they were doing 25% off 3 bottles or more of their Finest range, rather than the usual 6 bottles of anything over £5. It seems they ahve replaced that one with the more traditional one now.

    1. Great to hear from you Alastair and thank you for getting in touch. Yes, retailers do seem to be experimenting around the multibuy theme – but, as yet, no one else appears to have followed the Tesco example of restricting discounts to loyalty card holders. I think Eddie has an update on Tesco promotions elsewhere on this comments thread.

  12. Morrisons have just reverted to their 25% off six or more offer, no doubt reacting to Sainsbury’s and Aldi. A little caveat emptor required there though as some of their prices seem to have crept up slightly, making the offer less good value to the unwary.

    As always a few of their NZ Sauvignon Blancs look good value at this discount and, of course, they are often absent from their shelves when I get there. I need to be a better “early bird”!

  13. Good to hear from you Dave but sorry that one of my commendations did not meet expectations. The definition of the flavours and the (to me) successful integration of the wine’s other components was what persuaded me that this was above average for a £7 malbec.
    Demonstrating – yet again – that individual palates sense things in different ways, obviously you were not convinced. It is important to hear those judgements so I can shape what I say about specific wines in future. Consequently, I appreciate your communicating those thoughts and am grateful to you for taking the trouble to do so.
    With wine as with most other things, winning every time is impossible. Even if Manchester City win the treble this year, they will still have lost over 10% of their Premiership games.

  14. Yes, Eddie does a great job with those “25% off deals”. Keeping up with them is like trying to catch an eel with your bare hands. While talking of “doing a great job” – those Aldi buyers deserve accolades too, exactly as you suggest.

  15. Thanks for adding your thoughts Dave, but it is always a pity when something fails to live up to expectations for one of the MidWeek Wines community.

  16. Thanks for keeping us up to speed on the evolving discount story, Alf. If I see someone sitting on the doorstep of a Morrisons store just before it opens, I will come over to say “Hi”.
    Morrisons does indeed get some good options (one benefit of buying in slightly smaller batches that, say, Tesco). I hear that their top man is retiring shortly though so let’s hope that his successors in the team keep up the standard.

  17. Hi Alf …
    Beware Morrisons offer! Yes you will get 25% off any 6 you buy, but not ”6 or more”, the 7th bottle on the till belt won’t work! It won’t work with an online shopping cart either. Here is a link to an NZ-SB, the excellent Marlborough Mud House. https://groceries.store.morrisons.com/products/Mud-House-Marlborough-Sauvignon-Blanc/106966065 .
    It says in the red box, bottom right, ”Maximum of 6 promotional item per customer”. Imo it’s daft. If you wanted to buy 12 bottles say, you’d need to split them into two separate transactions. The other retailers don’t work like that.

  18. This thread has several sub-threads and some emotions resulting from individual likes and dislikes all handled in a very grown up manner. I hope others join in and express their preferences. Wine is made now in so many styles and there is much more diversity.

    I would like to single out a wine from Aldi the Baron Amarillo. I bought 10 wines all regarded highly by Brian and Decanter. I didn’t like the whites or the reds and then the final wine was the Amarillo Rioja Riserva. Brian recommended the 2016 however I got the lesser 2017 vintage however it was superb. I love well balanced wines and this has that and a strong structure despite being very dry. It has fruit, blackcurrants and Cherries, however it is the herbs that predominate. Is it Rosemary? 6 years plus Barrel and Bottle aging and it only cost £5.79 and very stable due to 13.5% alcohol and it’s maturity. Has to be my red of the month. Possibly more of a food wine due to the dryness however keen to hear from others

  19. Thanks Chris. It was touch and go whether to recommend the basic Rioja or the Reserva you mention. Both are good illustrations of their respective styles – and are at a great price. I appreciate too your words about this particular comments section which, I felt, summed up the idea of an online wine community well. Do keep sharing your thoughts.

  20. Having tried (and enjoyed) it, I can confirm that it certainly does exist but perhaps all those reviews mean that it is getting sold out quickly. I hope you track some down soon and it is good to hear from you – even if it is about a wine that, so far, has eluded you.

  21. Great spot for the 2016 Chateau Perenne!
    We’ve bought as many bottles as we could lay our hands on!
    Agree that it will improve from longer cellering, but is very good already (definitely needs decanting).
    Served at a recent dinner party, our friends complained that we were ‘spoiling them with expensive French wine’…seemed a shame to tell them the truth!
    Many thanks Brian…

    1. Keep quiet with those guests is my advice! After all, two out of the three points are correct – it is French, and you are spoiling them. I am pleased that you found that steer helpful though because I hesitated about featuring that wine since it does still need time or decanting – and often gets neither. One of the downsides of reds (especially claret) being released too early in my opinion. Instructive that it is from one of the less grand parts of the Bordeaux area.

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