Last week I went along to Aldi Stores Summer Wine tasting. I tried, tested and made tasting notes for 42 wines in the collection. The theme running throughout their selection on the nose and palette is floral notes and summer garden. With this in mind I’ve ranked and rated every bottle, and narrowed it down to make it as quick and easy as possible for you to pick the perfect bottle for a Barbecue, day at the beach, park, or summer garden party without spending a fortune.
It is the season to be sun kissed and after the week we’ve had, there isn’t an Irish face that hasn’t been kissed by the summer sun. If you were stuck in the office, fret not, there is another heat wave on the way. My rule is that once the weather is warm enough to give you rosy cheeks, it’s time to crack open the rose. It’s the good weather drink of choice for many holiday makers. Even those more fond of beer are known to dabble in the pink, when the temperatures rise….
Believe it, or not, but for me, It wasn’t the rose that stood out and it was the most affordable rose of those on show that I think will please the crowd: TORO LOCO ROSE €5.99 gave a raspberry aroma on the nose and palette with a hint of citrus fruit and cherry, this wine is well balanced with medium body, flavour intensity, acidity and alcohol – an ideal summer day refresher.
On a more expensive, but yet very affordable note the Exquisite Collection Cotes De Provence rose €8.99 might be of interest but I found the alcohol a little too much on the palette, although I wouldn’t be surprised if you favoured this one, as it is a long standing rumour that Irish people like to taste their alcohol, or is that a fact..?
If you’re looking for a bit of sparkle in the sun, then you will be very happy with what’s on offer. Every bottle is good and some are great. Each bottle is worth writing about; i’ll begin with Cremant: This sparkling wine from France (€10.79)PHILIPPE MICHEL CREMANT DU JURA has 12% alcohol with a creamy mousse. It’s dry with a touch of green apple and peach on the nose , some citrus fruit flavour on the tongue-lemon, with a touch of stony minerality. Balanced, good sparkling wine with a long finish.
Then, I tried the ever popular Prosecco. For me it is a step up from the Cremant -but many won’t agree- I can imagine that it has the potential to get a bit luscious after the third glass. Of course we drink responsibly and that should never be a problem… The Prosecco in question is part of Aldi’s core range: PROSECCO DOCG (€11.99) It’s far more pronounced on the nose than the Cremant. If you close your eyes a take a waft in, you can imagine you’re taking a stroll through a summer garden. The floral, tropical and fruit scents are pleasantly intense. On the palette the bubbles are fine grain and delicate, the pear and peach are dominant. The body, acidity, alcohol and flavour intensity are equally aligned to balance. Again, one or two glasses are gorgeous, but I could imagine this Prosecco being too luscious to drink any more, then again, plenty of people love that trait in a wine.
Light and loaded with fine bubbles, I would place this Limoux a notch above the first two mentioned sparkling wines. EXQUISITE COLLECTION BLANQUETTE DE LIMOUX (€13.99) has a decent alcohol level at 12% which is blended to balance in the well structured, subtle wine. This one is very much understated in comparison to the Cremant and Prosecco. This Limoux has a sophisticated nose with savory notes and scents of baked apple tart after cooling – I could drink this all evening on the patio of a summer’s day accompanied by some shellfish.
Finally, outshining each of the sparkling wines to different degrees is the VEUVE MONSIGNY CHAMPAGNE BRUT (€19.99) This bad-boy won blind tasting competitions against some of the most prestigious Champagnes such as Veuve Cliquot, and for less than €20 you would be mad not to experience this quality Champagne. It’s dry, with delicate bubbles, stone fruits, hint of toast on the nose, baked apples and pears and very balanced with a long and pleasurable finish.
If, like me, bubbles are your pre-dinner starter of choice before moving on to the white wine then prepare to be excited because in this summer collection, the show stopper is a white wine and it’s not of old world origin. In fact the French Sauvignon and in particular Adli’s French Chardonnay within the collection fall to second place in comparison to their new world alternatives, although the majority are still decent. The EXQUISITE COLLECTION NEW ZEALAND SAUVIGNON BLANC (€11.49) is impressive. It screams summer on the nose, bursting with minerality, grapefruit and lemon, it is very pronounced. It has a medium (+) body , alcohol, flavour intensity and is perfectly structured and balanced with a long finish. It’s an excellent wine and I would highly recommend it.
The other white that stood out is a Chardonnay from Chile , which in my opinion is far superior to the Chablis of the collection. ANDARA CHILEAN CHARDONNAY (6.49) On the nose, as on the palette, the stone fruits are present- apricot, peach, a touch of spice- white pepper and zesty lemon with a long finish.
Although the whites in this collection are more impressive and expressive of summer there are some notable reds in the mix. One Merlot gave a lot for such a modest price. EXQUISITE COLLECTION MERLOT €8.99 gave notes of forest floor and blackcurrant, upon taste, the summer berry fruits were noticeable and the plum, hint of cherry and high tannin with equally as high acidity and alcohol at 13.5% made for a long finish and well structured and balanced wine from Chile.
Trusty Malbec from Argentine held its own too. EXQUISITE COLLECTION ARGENTINIAN MALBEC €8.79 is quintessentially silky with baked fruits like plums and black fruits dominating the palette and some forest floor, or wet leaf subtleties and the alcohol, although a little high, worked for me, creating a satisfying long finish.
As it is summer, a lighter red might be appreciated and the Pinot Noir should suffice. At €9.99 the EXQUISITE COLLECTION NEW ZEALAND PINOT NOIR is enjoyable and easy to drink with a red berry predominance, namely cherries and raspberries it makes for an acceptable wine. In summary, if I must choose only one wine that stood-out over every wine in the entire collection, it would be the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and that’s an honest statement as I generally prefer reds. That in mind, here are my top 3 “Best in Show” for this year’s Aldi Summer selection :
- The EXQUISITE COLLECTION NEW ZEALAND SAUVIGNON BLANC (€11.49)
- VEUVE MONSIGNY CHAMPAGNE BRUT (€19.99)
- ANDARA CHILEAN CHARDONNAY (6.49)
Happy shopping – enjoy the long summer days and the long finish!