Aldi presents: ‘first of the summer wine’
It’s now officially spring, and Aldi has clearly had enough of winter. Haven’t we all? In fact, it has decided it’s time for the first of the summer wine and is pushing rosé already. I love a glass of Provençal pink as much as anyone else, but it’s drumming down right now.
Frankly, whatever the weather, there’s no better time to sell the virtues of its own-brand Côtes de Provence, because it’s superb (which sounds better if you shout it, in an excited French accent). As I said in my previous piece about Lidl’s ‘wine tour’, Aldi has historically had the edge with its core range, built around an impressive sub-brand.
Think of Tom Daley diving into a summer pavlova
Having tasted the entire ‘Exquisite Collection’ at one point or another, I think the 2017 Côtes de Provence Rosé is one the very best wines it has to offer. Like most rosé wine, it doesn’t lend itself to the longest tasting note in history. It’s really a vinous version of strawberries and cream, but it’s precise, with vibrance and poise. Think of Tom Daley diving into a summer pavlova. And – unlike his slightly orangey hue – it’s a delightful salmon pink that just aches for a sunny afternoon. It’s a steal at £6.69 at the moment, so stock up for summer.
Aldi are also offering up a cheaper option, Rosé Méditerranée, which isn’t from the Côtes de Provence Appellation, but is from the South of France, and offers that fashionable pale pink we all love. As you’d expect at £4.69, it’s simpler stuff, with a linear, slightly boring, red berry character and I would definitely spend the extra two quid on the infinitely superior wine. That said, it’s certainly an option for summer party plonk.
Australia is having a bit of a ‘varietal epiphany’ at the moment, with regional specialisms getting the wine world very excited. For me, riesling is the most interesting, with both Eden Valley and Clare Valley the places to seek out. Somehow, Aldi has managed to get hold of a really delicious Clare Valley Riesling for its ‘Exquisite Collection’, which is a total gem for £6.99.
… bursting with fresh lime sherbet
Some still fear riesling in case they end up with a sweet wine they didn’t want. Complex German labelling hasn’t historically helped. Most of the riesling I encounter is dry, however, and this Aussie version certainly is. It’s bursting with fresh lime sherbet, grapefruit and green apple, with lip-smacking acidity, and it’s no wonder it has proved to be an award-winner. It’s a great one for Thai green curry, but would also be a joy with prawns, or simply a summer salad.
The first waft of faintly warm summer air will have us all rushing out to buy a barbecue, to replace the one that’s rusting beside the shed. Aldi is ready, with an award-winning Uco Valley Malbec in that ‘Exquisite Collection’. This one is no big blast of blackberry: it’s fresher than most, thanks to the altitude at which it’s produced, with violets and plums taking the lead. It’s great value at £5.99, but might not be quite the match for a sizzling steak.
For that, I would recommend an upgrade to one of their limited edition wines: Don Tomas Malbec. It’s a couple of pounds more, at £7.99, but rewards you with a beefy barbecue blockbuster. With ripe red cherry, blackcurrant, liquorice and even chocolate notes, it has lovely smooth tannins and a long finish that will leave you smiling at the stars in the summer night sky. Once that rain has stopped.