The last press tasting I went to before lockdown was Aldi’s – a reveal of 70 of its spring/summer wine range. Life has changed since then, but the new lines are now on shelves, with many available online. Aldi remains a source of seriously good-value labels, so here are the highlights.
Best sparkler was the most expensive, Philizot et Fils 2012 (12.5%, £19.99, online only), a creamy, brioche-scented vintage champagne made with a big dollop (60 per cent) of pinot meunier in the blend. And there was a bunch of decent rosés – my favourites were the one below and the elegant, red berry-wispy Specially Selected Costieres de Nimes Rosé 2019, France (13%, £6.49, in store and online).
Some of the cheaper reds were a little dull, but for a real bargain, pick up the Grapevine Shiraz 2018, Western Cape, South Africa (12.5%, £3.69 in store), easy and soft with spicy blackberry tones.
The Wrangler Zinfandel 2017, California (£6.99, selected stores and online) is punchy and powerful at 15% but has oodles of juicy raspberry and black cherry (for barbecues) while the Specially Selected Valpolicella Ripasso 2018, Italy (13.5%, £7.99, selected stores) has ripe raisin and cassis notes and cries out for lasagne.
The best section was the whites, with many good buys among the French and Italian wines. My choices include two contrasting rieslings, the tangy, bright lime-soused Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling 2018, Australia (11.5%, £6.99, in store and online) and the Specially Selected Alsace Riesling 2018, France (12%, £6.99, in store and online), dry and apple-y, a lovely match for asparagus.
Pierre Jaurant Roussanne 2019, Pays d’Oc, France
(14%, £5.99, in store)
Single variety roussanne is fairly rare – this is a fresh, dry, orange-flavoured white with interesting flecks of white pepper, spice and ginger. Try it with a lemony roast chicken.
Cambalala Pinotage 2019, Western Cape, South Africa
(14.5%, £5.49, in store and online)
One of Aldi’s core lines, and the new 2019 vintage offers a no-nonsense, gutsy glass of ripe juicy red berries, blackcurrant and plum. Good-value red for chargrilled or spicy red meat dishes.
Pedro Luis Monastrell Rosé 2019, Jumilla, Spain
(12.5%, £5.99, in store and online)
Spanish rosado with plenty of character, leading with a lovely scent of wild strawberries, followed by vivacious red cherry flavour and a dry, succulent finish. Was that the sound of someone saying seafood paella?