Let’s be honest: the name ALDI doesn’t conjure up images of Bacchanalian wonderment. It’s probably not the first port of call for wine lovers hoping to impress. You know what though? Wine-wise, ALDI is not to be ignored. There were several wines at yesterday’s tasting that made me check and double check the prices. £2.99? £3.59? How is it even still possible to import wine for that? A question for another time, perhaps…

Anyway, here are my top choices from ALDI. They’re decent wines that you’d be silly not to buy in large amounts if you have a ‘do’ coming up and are on a budget. Sure, they may not all set the wine world on fire, but they’re seriously good value for money.

ALDI core range:

* FIZZ – Champagne Brut NV by Philizot (£12.99). Good, standard Champers. Slightly toasty, not too acidic. Very drinkable and keenly priced. 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Pinot Meunier, 33% Chardonnay.

* WHITE – Bordeaux Blanc, Benoit & Valerie Calvet (£4.19). One for the old schoolers: light, a bit leafy, a little mineral, cool and understated. 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon.

* RED – Toro Loco Tempranillo 2011 (£3.59). Vibrant magenta with lovely, scratchy strawberry fruit and a chalky finish. Great example of entry level Tempranillo at quite frankly, a silly price.

* RED – Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva 2006 (£5.99) Tangy, stewed strawberry and cinnamon spice. Needs food to soften the tannin, but this is proper Rioja.

* RED – Estevez Cabernet Sauvignon /Carmenere 2012 (£4.99) Concentrated and savory, oozing blackcurrant leaves and smoke. Again, best with food to smooth out the edges, but a good little wine.

The Exquisite Collection

* WHITE – Limestone Coast Chardonnay, Taylor’s Estate 2012 (£6.99). Good, benchmark Chardonnay: soft and creamy, melons with a hint of marshmallow. Nice.

* RED – Fleurie, Boisset 2010 (£6.99). Perfumed and pretty, light-bodied and  floral. A lovely light red with moreish, soft, red fruit.

Premium Christmas Range  (available from November for the Christmas period only, so make the most of them!)

*FIZZ –  Champagne Charles Mignon Brut Premium Reserve NV in MAGNUM (£34.99). A good bottle to make an impression! Soft, drinkable Champagne with a lovely brioche flavour. 60% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier.

* FIZZ – Prosecco D.O.C. Extra Dry 2011 in MAGNUM (£14.99) Perfect for party time! This is decent, soft, pear-scented fizz with a great looking bottle.

* FIZZ – Moscato Spumante 2011 (£4.79) An ideal wine for pavlova puds and fruit salad: sweet and soft, floral fizz with that typical grapey flavour. Amazing value.

* WHITE – Sancerre, Domaine la Gemiere 2011 (£8.99) Sophisticated and subtle Sauvignon with creamy lemon and smoky fern flavours.

* WHITE – Chablis Premier Cru, Francois Martenot 2011 (£8.99)  Quite a crunchy Chablis with a chalky, yeasty tang. Like licking rocks in a rather satisfying way! Would be awesome with a mild, hard cheese.

* RED – Toro Loco Reserva 2008 (£4.99) Tempranillo again with a juicy, strawberry nose, concentrated fruity palate and a licorice finish. Needs food, but pretty amazing given the price.

* RED – Amarone, Vignaioli La Castellana 2008 (£13.99). A big, brooding red. Give it a good swirl and you’ll be rewarded with dark cherries and cocoa. Yum.

* SWEET  -Beerenauselese, Lenz Moser NV (£4.99). If you’re looking for an unctious, syrupy pudding wine for not much cash, then this is it: it’s all honey and elderflower with a marmalade finish. Lacking the depth and complexity of Sauternes, but hey. It’s £4.99!

Super Premium Christmas Range

* Puligny Montrachet, Pasquier Desvignes 2011 (£16.99) Creamy chardonnay with a mouth-watering, smoky bacon aroma and fresh, minerally flavour. Good value.

* Chateau Marquis D’Alesme Becker, Haut-MedocBordeaux Grand Cru Classe 2004 (£22.99) A very classy wine, this: beeswax and cedar on the nose with apple skin and red fruit flavours and a cool, almost saline tang.
Go get ’em!
WB x