Last week we were invited to The Aldi Christmas Wine Event in Farrier & Draper, to sample and taste their Christmas offerings in sparkling, white, red, dessert wine and port.
There were 5 offerings here. We first tried the Veuve Monsigny Champagne (€19.99), perfect Christmas morning tipple. It’s elegant, quite tart though but overall a good value Champagne. The Cremant du Jura Chardonnay sparkling wine is well priced at €10.99 but not one I enjoyed. It’s getting a lot of love on social media but not a wine I’ll purchase. The Champagne Rose (€23.99) when sometimes pink champagne is what’s needed. It’s again a good value champagne but quite dry.
Recommended Buy: Veuve Monsigny Champagne – €19.99
First up, we tried the Andre Vannier Chablis Premier Cru (€19.99) … described by Aldi as a ‘turbocharged Chablis’ and that it is. Henri de Lorgere Sancerre (€9.99) was a miss for us, the tasting notes describe it as ‘pungent with green asparagus, asparagus, blackcurrant leaves’. I found the gooseberry much too strong in this wine, and just not a wine I would enjoy drinking. Our last white was much more successgul, from the same vineyard, Henri De Lorgere Pouily Fume (€11.99), again a Sauvignon Blanc, which is not the wine varietal we’d normally tend towards. Very fresh and with lots going on, they recommend it with goats cheese, I’ll definitely try it that way, a really good wine.
A very classic Chablis. One of their mainstays from the Exquisite Collection is the Clare Valley Riesling. At €9.99 this is well priced, very fresh, dry, lots of minerality and citrus that you would typically find in Australian Rieslings.
Recommended Buy: Henri De Lorgere Pouily Fume – €11.99
The first red we tasted turned out to be one of our favourites, Domaine Chateauneuf du Pape and at €14.99 this is incredible value for a great wine. A classic red from the southern Rhone valley, the blend of syrah and grenache creates a dark, peppery smooth wine. Recommended to go with red meats, I wouldn’t keep it just for that though!
We tried two Valpolicellas, firstly the Exquisite Collection Valpolicella Ripasso (€9.99) is a solid wine, a big red that really packs a punch at this price. However the La Sogara Amarone Valpolicella at €18.99 is an incredible wine and easily our favourite overall. Amarone is a red wine produced in the Valpolicello area of Veneto, in the north east of Italy. A very smooth, vibrant wine, full bodied but refined and balanced. I’ve already purchased a few bottles of this wine (along with the Chateauneuf du Pape).
We are fans of Californian Zinfandel, so were eaher to try the Meadowhawk Vineyards Ancient Vines Zinfandel (€10.99). This is a low price point for a Californian Zinfandel and it turned out to be too good to be true. Lot 20 Douro Grande Reserva (€13.99), was another miss. I tried a couple of times as normally I would like a Douro but this was not for us, there’s far better red wine purchases at Aldi.
Ch. Saint Pierre Grand Cru Classe 2011 (€29.99) is at the more expensive price point but worthy of this. It’s a bold and rich red, one you can enjoy now or keep for a few years. I’m not sure I’d buy this though as I think the Amarone and Chateauneuf du Pape were better wines but perhaps to keep rather than drink.
Another gift option for Christmas for the Malbec lover in your life, there’s a Magnum of Malbec, the Exquisite Collection Argentinian Malbec and at €16.99 this is a fun present.
Recommended Buy: La Sogara Amarone – €18.99 and Domaine Chateauneuf du Pape – €14.99
Dessert and Fortified Wine
We only tried two wines here, one we loved, one we did not! The Ch de Myrat 2012 Sauternes was first up, this was beautiful, honey, syrupy, toasty vanilla, just a gorgeous sweet wine. It’s presented in a wooden box so makes a great gift too (€17.99). I wanted to buy this but couldn’t find it in my local Aldi just yet. The De Bortoli Australian Show Liquer was the other we tried in this category. It’s closer to Port than dessert wine though so wasn’t what we expected. It’s sweet but not at the same time and it confused us, we just didn’t enjoy it so not a wine I’d buy.
Recommended Buy: Ch de Myrat 2012 Dessert Wine Gift Pack – €17.99
There you have it, a roundup of the wines hitting the shelves in your Aldi store this Christmas.