Aldi - Spring/Summer catwalk
The arrival of spring sees the return of a number of press tastings put on by the multiple grocers to give the wine media a chance to taste through some old favourites and have a look at new additions to the range. It’s always interesting to see what the big players are backing with regards to wine trends for the year and so with that in mind, what wines and highlights were Aldi showing at their Spring/Summer 2019 Press Tasting?
The strongest section was arguably the fizz and Aldi have always excelled with their sparkling wine range from the frothiest, prettiest Proseccos on the High Street to one of the best value champagne’s, in my opinion, on the shelf in the UK today - the Philizot-made Veuve Monsigny Brut NV at £12.49, made up of a third each of the classic champagne grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier). Long, persistent, bready and with a tight apple core, this is a well-rounded characterful fizz. For those who like bigger bottle formats of fizz (another trend alongside smaller bottles) then the Philizot La Gourmandise d’Eleonore Magnum Brut NV at £35.99 is an elegant guest to any table, especially for a dinner party. There were some new additions too to the Philizot wines with an Organic NV Champagne, retailing at £26.99 (highlighting a very clear trend from Aldi for organic wines) and 2014 and 2006 vintage offerings. The Veuve Monsigny Champagne Rosé NV - £16.99 is also back in stock and worth snapping up as it sold out last year and is as good as branded market leaders. There were a couple of other sparkling rosés in the range too (with rosé and sparkling rosé both showing strongly as trends) alongside the new Fleur de Prairie, and these were pink Prosecco look-a-likes with the Giotti Spumante Rosé NV (£5.99) and a Castellore Organico Sparkling Rosé NV made from 50% Glera and 50% Pinot Noir. A Prosecco in everything but name only. The Giotti is very pretty and fun whereas the Castellore is more mineral, tighter and elegant.
My other sparkling highlights include:
- Fleur de Prairie Sparkling Rosé NV - £8.99
A very pretty wine that has a striking, embossed bottle. It’s just off-dry with residual sugar sitting at around 12g/l but the fruit is very charming with lots of strawberry and raspberry notes and will be a great summer choice:
- Cremant de Loire Blanc de Noir NV - £7.99
A personal favourite this is made from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes and is from the Touraine in the Loire. It is really attractive with bright, crunchy red fruits, grilled nuts and yeasty notes.
- Prosecco Valdobbiadene Spumante Extra Dry DOCG NV - £8.99
A really classic, pretty Prosecco with lots of notes of melon, ripe pear and peach with well-integrated sweetness.
Some new juicy spring whites were also on display with several standouts, including The Wine Foundry Avesso 2018 at £6.49; Avesso being a white grape from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal. The wine is very attractively textured with good weight of yellow plum and peach fruit. A really good crowd pleaser or wedding wine for those who wanted something a bit different. Also new was the spectacular elderflower and hawthorn-scented Exquisite Collection Lyme Block English Wine from the superlative 2018 vintage, a blend of 48% Bacchus adding mouth-watering greengage acidity. Another favourite, though not a new wine, remains the insanely priced Castellore Grillo Sauvignon Blanc 2018 for £4.69:
This is a fantastic wine (and would be at double the price) with peach, banana, apricot and vanilla notes; a lovely, enjoyable, rounded, balanced white that is highly recommended. As is another smashing Italian white: The Fire Tree Sicilian Fiano 2018 at £4.99 – another beautiful-to-boot bargain! Finally, I really liked the Exquisite Collection Marsanne 2018 (£5.99) for its ripe, exotic, tropical and stone fruit profile as well as the Mâcon Villages 2018, pictured below (in 75cl and 18.7cl – a nod to responsible drinking and smaller formats) and the Leaf Plucker Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (£6.99) which has seen some oak ageing and has a lovely complexity to it.
As mentioned previously, rosé remains commercially strong not surprisingly for spring and summer and my favourite was probably the Exquisite Collection Touraine Rosé 2018 (£5.99) which had a lovely pink colour and lots of crunchy strawberry laces fruit and the Plow & Press Californian Shiraz Rosé 2018 although that is not available until the beginning of June. Provence and pale pink wines also remain strong players in the range and suggest this trend isn’t going anywhere for a while!
And lastly, onto the red range. A fantastic bargain is the Toro Loco Bobal Merlot 2017 (£4.89), bursting with blueberry and soft fruit compote notes which could be chilled in the summer if we get another scorcher as the tannins are soft enough. Ditto the excellent Plow & Press Californian Pinot Noir 2018 (£7.99) although this is not in stock until June. For something more BBQ-worthy, the Stave & Steel Bourbon Aged Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 packs a punch, in a good way at £8.99 and being aged as it says on the label in old bourbon barrels. The result is an intriguing spicy, floral note which marries well with the ripe black fruits. Other highlights include the Nero di Troia 2016 (£5.99) which is another summer sipper along with the Number 9 GSM Blend 2018 (£6.99) from Australia with pretty, juicy raspberry, blackberry and apple fruit. And a very elegant addition to the range and one that will very likely sell out very fast is the Château Jean Gue Cuvée La Rose Lalande de Pomerol 2015 for only £11.99 and on sale on the 18th March…….don’t delay!
— posted by Sam Caporn MW