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Monday 21 December 2015

Aldi: an unlikely source of some Christmas wine gems

It was about this time last year that popped into an Aldi store in southern Sydney and found myself impressed by the range of imported wines on offer. 

I invested in half a dozen different bottles and found them all good value. There is no Aldi near where I live, however, so they dropped off my radar until a couple of months ago.

A PR company acting for the cut-price supermarket chain asked me if I'd be interested in visiting a couple of Aldi producers in the Yarra Valley, but as I had to promise not to reveal who they were, I declined the offer. No point in visiting wineries if you are not allowed to say who they are. 

Then Aldi asked if I would be happy to receive some samples of their Christmas range; both imports and own-label locals. As they'd just won a blue-gold at the Sydney International Wine Competition for the $5 Aldi 2015 South Point rosé it would have been churlish to refuse, and it turns out buying director Jason Bowyer has a keen nose for a bargain. 

There are some real standouts to be found on Aldi shelves, including a non-vintage Champagne for under $25 (one of three in a range all of which come in at under $30) and delightful Mosel riesling for under a tenner. 

Here are some of my favourites from the Christmas and summer seasonal range:

Monsigny NV Brut Selection Champagne: A fresh and crisp aperitif-style bubbly with floral and citrus and a delicate mousse. $24.99. 

Peter Mertes 2014 Mosel Riesling: A lovely example of aromatic, off-dry German riesling that is downright delicious. $9.99. 

Neve 2015 Nelson Pinot Gris: A delightful drink from New Zealand, fresh and lively with mere hints of spice and barrel maturation. $7.99.

Qiwila 2015 Sauvignon Blanc: From the Maule Valley in Chile, this is a riper style than we are used to, but has plenty of palate interest. $6.99.

Loire Valley 2014 Sauvignon Blanc: Crisp and vibrant and perfect for enjoying chilled with seafood. $7.99.  

There were also some very tidy own-label local wines on offer, including: 

Second Left 2015 Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc: Very enjoyable with sweet citrus, green notes and overall a nice package for $7.99.

A.C. Byrne 2015 Mount Barker Riesling: Fresh, zingy and citrusy and from one of the best riesling regions in the country. $9.99.

Tudor 2014 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir: A fruit-driven cool-climate pinot that actually comes from one of the best producers in the Yarra. $12.99.

Tudor 2014 Central Victorian Shiraz: A wine that has won a show trophy; bold shiraz with a touch of mourvedre added. $12.99. 

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