Discount prices make Aldi and Lidl a wine drinker's delight, with the value for money quite intoxicating, writes Christine Austin

There was total shock on the High Street as earlier this year Lidl gradually overhauled Waitrose in the supermarket stakes. It joined Aldi which had moved up the pecking order a year ago pushing Waitrose down to 7th place. So now the big four supermarkets remain the same with Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons still collectively taking around 70% of our household budgets. However the two German owned discounters, Aldi and Lidl now take around 13% between them and they are rapidly gaining even more market share. Sales are up year on year and both chains have plans to build more stores. ‘We are planning to open around 50 new stores in the next year’, said Anna Krettmann, wine buyer for Lidl when I spoke to her recently.

Wine is definitely a serious category for both Aldi and Lidl, each of them comfortably covering the bargain end of the market, but straying into better quality, higher priced wines as their customer base expands. Lidl has a core range but then supplements it every six weeks or so with a themed offering which stays on the shelves ‘as long as it lasts’.   Aldi also has a core range with seasonal offerings for summer and Christmas.

Neither store has the size of range we are used to in the major supermarkets, but they choose their smaller selections well. I recently tasted through dozens of wines from both supermarkets, so if you are one of their many customers, this is what you should buy.

Fizz

Exquisite Collection Crémant de Jura 2014, Aldi £7.99

Several years ago, this was the first Aldi wine that really made my tastebuds sit up and take notice. Jura is a tiny region and no-one was offering a sparkling wine from there until Aldi launched this clean, lively, lemon and crunchy-apple style of wine. It tastes well above its bargain price point.

Crémant de Limoux Brut, Languedoc-Roussillon, Lidl £7.99

Another bargain fizz, this time from the south of France, made from grapes grown in the cool, breezy hills of Limoux. Made from a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin and local grape Mauzac, and manages fresh citrus flavours with a broad, rounded palate that makes it perfect to accompany canapés. This is part of Lidl’s latest wigig (when it’s gone, it’s gone) offer.

Ca’di Pietra Prosecco DOC Magnum Aldi £12.99

A party-sized bottle of a party-style wine. A magnum is always a wow at a party and this one has all the right frothy floral, fruit flavours. Terrific value. Available from 14 November.

Champagne Brut Rosé, Bissinger NV, Lidl £14.99

Gentle strawberry fruit with toasty tones and a good, fresh-tasting finish.

Whites

Cimarosa Sauvignon Blanc Reserva Privada 2016, Chile, Lidl £4.99

Full of cut grass and gooseberry flavours. A great aperitif, or try it alongside grilled fish.

Costières de Nîmes 2016, La Grande Collection, France, Lidl £4.99

A southern French blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Viognier giving food-friendly peach and apricot flavours with enough citrus crunch and savoury backbone to go alongside a midweek roast chicken.

Exquisite Collection Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2016, Australia, Aldi £5.79

Crisp, peachy, honeysuckle notes with pineapple and even a touch of minerals on the finish make this a wine that would be perfect alongside a Sunday lunch. No visible oak in this wine.

The Project Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Western Cape, South Africa, Aldi £5.99

Made by Duncan Savage and Thys Louw who are two of South Africa’s fresh crop of young, thirty-something winemakers. They have already gained recognition for their wines while working for someone else, now they are out on their own, making seriously good wines. This has fresh tropical fruit aromas, a touch of pink grapefruit and freshly crushed herbs on the palate. Fabulous flavours for money.

Reds

Côtes du Rhône Villages, France, Lidl £4.29

Unbelievable value in this lively, red-berry fruit and spicy wine. Soft enough to enjoy while you are cooking, then a perfect glugger for mid-week suppers.

Ch. Bonhomme Minervois 2016, France, Lidl £4.99

Terrific juicy, spicy, herb-spiked dark plum fruit that is perfectly happy alongside a bowl of pasta or a chunk of cheese.

Carignan, Val de Salis 2016, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, Lidl £5.99

Chunky with dark plum and forest fruit flavours wrapped up with smoky, mocha and tobacco notes. Perfect with sausages.

Exquisite Collection New Zealand Pinot Noir 2016, Aldi £6.99

I really don’t know how Aldi manages to get such glorious lifted, juicy, cherry and strawberry fruit with power and structure for this amazingly low price, but you should snap it up before others get there. Team it with grilled duck breast, charcuterie or a lamb chop supper.

Gloria Douro Reserva DOC 2014, Portugal, Aldi £6.99

Made from grapes that might otherwise have gone into port, this is a dark-flavoured, plum, blackberry and raspberry fruit-filled wine with supple structure and the weight to take on a roast beef lunch.

Ch. Larmande St Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2014, Aldi £19.99

A real step up in price and quality at Aldi but this wine definitely earns its place on their shelves. Full of elegant, fragrant cassis-dominated fruit with cedary notes and a supple, long finish. Tasted on its own it is still youthful and structured but once December comes around this could be the best wine to enjoy with the turkey.

Just Desserts

Exquisite Collection Amontillado Sherry, Spain, Aldi £5.79 for 37.5cl

Excellent quality sherry from one of the region’s top producers, this is packed with nutty, raisiny flavours. Pour a glass of this alongside a slice of fruit cake, cheese or just enjoy as the afternoon turns into evening.

Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Doux, France, Lidl £6.99

Not everyone likes sweet wines, but this one will double up as a dessert on its own. Lightish, honeyed notes with orange and grapefruit marmalade flavours. Serve chilled alongside a fruit-based dessert.

Maury 2013, Lidl £6.99 for 50cl

Probably the best value Maury I have come across in many years, this is packed full of damson, prune and chocolate notes and it is the kind of wine you put in the fridge for half and hour then bring out with chocolate puds or with cheese.

 

About The Author

Christine Austin

Christine is a wine writer, broadcaster and a wine judge for several international wine competitions. She has a technical background and spent five years as a buyer for a major supermarket before moving to wine writing.She writes for The Yorkshire Post Magazine and organises the York Festival of Food and Drink. She has won both the Lanson and the Roederer prizes for wine writing.

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