Savvy Aldi and Lidl shoppers can pick up quality wines at bargain prices, writes Christine Austin

A few years ago the value of your house would go up if a Waitrose store opened nearby.  These days you have to wait for a Lidl or Aldi to open at the end of the road to get an uplift in the value of your house, but with the discounters together approaching a 15% share of the grocery market and with both German-owned chains planning many new store openings there is a good chance that one will be coming to your neighbourhood soon.

From a standing start in the 1990’s Aldi and then Lidl have steadily encroached on the traditional big four supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons.   There was total shock on the High Street when last year both Aldi and Lidl overhauled Waitrose in the supermarket stakes. Sales are growing year on year and the new Lidl warehouse that will open in Leeds shows just how confident they are about continuing that growth.

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

Zero Point Zero Rosé, Aldi £2.49

The zero is the clue here.  This beverage has no alcohol but compared with other non-alcoholic wine-style drinks, this is actually quite palatable.  Made from fruit juice, green tea and flavourings it is refreshing and not too sweet. Perfect for drivers and those not wishing to drink alcohol. In store from Monday 1 October.

Comte de Senneval Champagne, half bottle, Lidl £6.99

There are so many times when a half bottle of champagne is just the thing while a whole bottle would be over the top.  Keep a few of these cute little bottles in the fridge door for impromptu celebrations.  This champagne often beats mainstream brands in blind tastings.

 

Crémant de Bourgogne, Lidl £7.99

Part of Lidl’s new range of WIGIG wines, (when it’s gone, it’s gone) range that arrived in stores just a couple of days ago.  They expect it to have all sold by the end of October so it is worth stocking up with this soft, creamy, frothy Crémant.  It is mainly Chardonnay grapes with a surprising splash of Gamay and is made in the long, slow, in-bottle fermentation method that gives the wine more depth and character.

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.

 

 

Whites

Exquisite Collection Australian Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Aldi £5.99

This is a stunning wine, made by David Hohnen who was the man who dreamt up Cloudy Bay and Cape Mentelle.  Now he has his own projects in Western Australia and this is an opportunity to taste his wine at roughly half the price of his regular range.  Crisp, bright, herbaceous notes with just a touch more weight than many Sauvignons.

Exquisite Collection Mâcon-Villages 2017, Aldi £6.99

Arriving next week in Aldi stores, this will join the core-range so will last through Christmas.  With rounded, ripe apple and pear fruit and just a hint of toasty oat complexity this is terrific value.  Team with roast chicken.

Jean Cornelius Alsace Riesling 2017, Lidl £7.99

Another WIGIG wine from Lidl and this is definitely worth seeking out while it is on the shelves.  Alsace Riesling can sometimes be a bit sweet, but not this one.  The fresh, linear, lime acidity is balanced by white tree-blossom notes and a streak of minerals on the finish.  Try as an aperitif or with an Asian-style stir-fry.

Sancerre Nicolas Carlin 2017, Lidl £11.99

Slightly more expensive than you might expect for a discounter but the quality inside the bottle is good.  Full of crisp citrus and herbal notes with a distinct flinty backbone, this will shine at any dinner party.

Reds

Beaujolais Villages 2016, Lidl £6.99

The first step in the Beaujolais selection now on Lidl’s shelves, this is the simplest, bursting with fresh, juicy cherry fruit with a clean, bright finish. It is a  Wednesday night wine to go with pasta, pizza or lamb chops.  Step up to Regnié Cru Beaujolais (£7.99) for darker fruit and more concentration.

 

Clos des Batuts Cahors 2017, Lidl £6.99

100% Malbec but different in style from any Argentinian Malbec you may have tried.  This is chunky, full of spiced, dark plum fruit with structure and length.  Perfect with any winter casserole and great value.

 

Exquisite Collection Marqués de Carrión Rioja Reserva 2014, Spain, Aldi £7.99

Showing a great balance between dark cherry fruit, touches of spice and coconut, with old-style supple, smooth tannins, this arrives in stores next week.  It will drink well with roast lamb and casseroles.

Lot Series Minervois La Livinière 2016, France, Aldi £8.99

Part of Aldi’s new ‘lots’ or parcels that will come in to store and sell through in the next few months.  They expect them to last through until Christmas.  This one is a definite find made from Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, and showing dark forest fruits, dusted with herbs and ending with a chunky, long finish.

A sweet finish

Monbazillac 2017, Lidl £7.99

A full sized bottle of delicious honey and lemon-style wine, perfect with shortbread, cakes and light fruity puddings

Lakeview Cellars Canadian Ice Wine, Aldi £16.99 for a half bottle

This doesn’t arrive in store until November, but keep an eye out for it because previous ice wines have vanished off the shelves overnight.  It tastes like freshly squeezed grapes, sweet and juicy with intense raisin flavours.

 

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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