Aldi store @Penge, South London
Last Wednesday I attended my first Aldi tasting. Due to either other commitments or by being out of the UK at the time I had had to turn down previous invitations. Equally, apart from buying a French tricolour wig in the Aldi store in Bléré (Indre et Loire) for a friend’s retirement party. This hasn’t really been down to personal preference but instead due to geographically dominance of Sainsbury’s in the Forest Hill/ East Dulwich/ Crystal Palace area of South London. Apart from a couple of small Tesco convenience stores, there is only one neighbourhood supermarket from which to choose.
My closest Sainsbury’s is less than a kilometre away – an easy walk away taking no more than 10 minutes. In contrast my nearest Aldi is over three kilometres away. No contest!
Anyway back to Wednesday’s tasting, which underlined Aldi’s great attraction – value. I have never attended a supermarket tasting where my most used comment was ‘value’!
The tasting started on a high with the crisp and clean Crémant de Loire Blanc de Loire NV (£7.99) from Grands Chais de France made from 100% Cabernet Franc. Offering very good value at £7.99 given that the UK has a high excise regime – £2.86 per 75 cl for sparkling wine plus VAT @20% making £3.14 total tax before you start. Duty on still wine is slightly lower £2.23 per 75 cl – totalling £2.67 inc VAT.
Planeta Organico Prosecco NV
Crisp but soft organic Prosecco thankfully less sweet than many other examples of this popular fizz. 100% Glera grapes and well priced at £7.99.
Prum Mosel Riesling 2018
This Mosel Riesling won’t be available until June 3rd. In anticipation it has attractive crisp texture with a streak of lime, well balanced and at £5.99 is a good value apéro.
Exquisite Collection Picpoul de Pinet 2018
Picpoul de Pinet is enjoying considerable popularity over here. This lightly floral example with some complexity and length is fair value at £6.49 and will be available from 18th March.
Exquisite Collection is Aldi’s name for their superior products aping Tesco Finest and Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference.
Exquisite Collection Lyme Block English Wine 2018
It would be nice to be positive about English still white wine. Sadly this raw and tart example shows all too clearly why it is UK sparkling wines that are winning the plaudits. Awful value at £9.99 a bottle – easily the worst value from the wines I tasted here and 2018 was a hot vintage!
Beaujolais Villages 2018
Lovely juicy, ripe red fruits – surely delicious drinking and excellent value at £5.99. Will be available from 18th March. Tempted to buy a few bottles myself – might just alleviate the agony of Brexit…..!!
‘Gym’ Dâo Red 2017
Good to see some Portuguese wines making an appearance here. This one is attractively soft and juicy. A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alfrocheiro it is easy on the pocket at £5.69.
Primanero Organic Primitivo 2016
Bricky coloured, sweet ripe fruit from Puglia – 100% Primitivo. At £7.99 underlining the interest and value that can be found in Puglia.
Moulins de Citran, Haut-Médoc 2009
A Bordeaux with some age and showing evolution a little two-dimensional but with good length and offering good value for a Bordeaux with 10 years of age.
Lengthy Guardian article on Aldi – its history and its progress in the UK.
Given the increasing importance of the discount sector in the UK I was surprised that there was such a thin attendance at this Press tasting – perhaps more journalists turned up later in the day.