Aldi wines review

Aldi logoAldi – they’re German, they’re over here and they’re cheap. But are they great value? Well yes when it comes to wine. Of the 30 bottles of Aldi wines tasted for this column, 24 are right corkers and only 6 are complete duds. So which wines are best avoided and which taste great without leaving a hole in your pocket?

Aldi Saint JeanAldi is one of the few retailers that sell £2.99 wines. With recent increases in duty and VAT there’s not a lot of profit for the retailer on such low price bottles. And it shows in their Baron Saint Jean range (all rather weedy) but the Hungarian Budavar Chardonnay and Merlot are perfectly quaffable. That good old stand-by German Liebfraumilch, and very popular with Aldi’s many over-50s customers, is also only £2.99. The only drawback is the sweet-edge masks the huge array of sophisticated flavours.

The most expensive wine can be found in Aldi’s sparkling section: £6.99 for a Cremant du Jura. This example of southern French winemakers blowing a raspberry at their more famous northern counterparts in Champagne isn’t bad at all. But it could do with some of that extra sugar in the Liebfraumilch to balance the lemon and grapefruit flavours.

PG Wine Tips

White wines

Budavar Hungarian Chardonnay

£2.99

Floral aromas matched to light melon and sherbet flavours. Simple and quaffable.

St. Amandus Liebfraumilch 2009, 10% alcohol

£2.99

Won my Best Low Alcohol Wine 2010. But don’t be put off by the Liebfrau label, its quaffable pear and peach flavours are tamed with lime and warming ginger.

Cambalala South African Chenin Blanc

£3.49

The banana and melon flavours are equal to any creamy curries you care to match with them.

Badgers Creek Australian White

£3.49

Buttery and cheesy aroma with a taste of honey, lime peel and grass. Quaffable.

Villa Malizia Italian Pinot Grigio

£3.99

Light grapefruit juice, apple and lemon flavours – just right as a breakfast wine.

Bordeaux White 2010

£3.99

The blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grape varieties results in a wine tasting of lemon balm and celery with aromas of gooseberry and coconut.

Mâcon-Villages 2009 Chardonnay

£4.99

At the expensive end of the scale for Aldi, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem quite worth the price. It’s okay – fresh apple with an additional sucking-on-a-pebble flavour – in an inoffensive way.

Aldi Freemans BayFreeman’s Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

£5.49

Attractive aromas of gooseberry, elderflower and lime matched to buttery gooseberry flavours with a dash of elderflower cordial. Very refreshing.

Italian Dry White 3-litre wine box

£13.29 (equivalent to £3.32 per bottle)

An easy-drinking wine that comes in a handy 4-bottle size. Its apple, celery and lime flavours will match almost any food. Fruity and pleasant.

Red wines

Badgers Creek Australian Red

£3.39

A nice mix of red fruit flavours - blackberry, cherry, blackcurrant and strawberry – with a hint of woodiness and black pepper. Great with food but watch out for that whopping 14% alcohol.

Italian Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

£3.39

Aromas of creamy blackcurrant and cherry, followed by flavours of blackcurrant cheesecake with extra coffee and black pepper.

French Claret

£3.69

Simple blackberry and sloe flavours with a hint of liquorice. A light lunch-time wine.

Aldi RiojaFrench Cotes du Rhone 2009

£3.69

Not Cabernet Sauvignon but a good alternative: Grenache Noir and Syrah. This soft and fruity wine tastes of cherry Tunes and blackberry with a dash of liquorice.

Tierra del Sol Chilean Merlot

£3.69

Light red fruit flavours of redcurrant, damson and cherry. Try with Bolognese fillings.

South African Cambalala Cabernet Sauvignon Pinotage

£3.89

Blackberry, plum and liquorice flavour. At 14% there’ll be quite a bit of alcohol in each glass so go careful.

South African Cambalala Pinotage Shiraz

£3.89

Another alcohol whopper with 14% alcohol by volume, but light flavours of creamy blackcurrant and blackberry.

San Lenone Italian Toscana Rosso

£3.99

Simple sweet blackberry flavours.

Vina Decana Reserva

£4.99

Smoky dark chocolate and cherry/red berry flavours. Very good.

Sparkling wines

Philippe Michel French Cremant du Jura Sparkling Chardonnay

£6.99

Sharp apple, lemon and grapefruit flavours.

Fortified

Fletcher’s Fine Ruby Port

£5.79

Great value when you consider the Asda equivalent is £6.32 and a posh brand like Cockburns is £9.49. Quaffable blackberry and brown sugar flavours.

That’s not all of Aldi’s current wine range: they currently stock 57 lines with 8 of these being rosé. Which you’ll note aren’t yet included in the reviews.

So you know what I’ll be tasting next week don’t you?

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk