ALDI’S-Top Seasonal Wines 2022 reviewed
Written by Axel Ritenis
Publishing Editor of the Sydney Times & Connoisseur Magazine
Xmas and New Year -Seasonal Releases
I recently returned to Australia after a 4 months trip to Europe ,..where I spent a lot of time studying German, and French supermarkets (wineries and hospitality venues too) amongst them ALDI,.. so I relished the opportunity to sample some of the ALDI products and those from other Supermarkets,..and also the wines that I came across. I was pleased to see some Aussie Reds like Yellowtail, Peter Lehmann and the Penfolds wines adorning the German supermarket liquor shelves as well. Sadly the Germans no longer drink “Aussie Chardie” -because under the influence of Global warming they can now grow their own- and it is very good!
Now I don’t want to sound like an “ALDI groupie” ,..but as a keen student of the Retail scene ,..(there is nothing I love more then walking down a Supermarket aisle or checking the range in a good Wine shop or Providore),… I just admire the way ALDI can provide their customers with fairly average service but a limited range of excellent quality well sourced products. Of course their whole business philosophy is vastly different to that of the archaic British style Grocers,..with their constant trickery based around the “no margin lost leader concept and discounting”,..but more about that another time.
On arriving back in Australia ,..I have become quite concerned,if not alarmed,..about the shocking,.. seemingly unjustified price increases seen in the Big Supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles. My initial instincts tells me that there is massive price gouging in play,..and that this is a drive to increase profitability for the Shareholders and Board members ,..there can be no other explanation. The greed and gouging on display in the global corporate sector really is concerning and I simply can’t believe that a COVID and Fuel price induced recession rate of 5 or 6 % can warrant or justify these disturbing sorts of price increases!
At this rate the future rate of “inflation is clearly going to go through the roof in the New Year” as these prices feed through the various price mechanisms!
Because we are a responsible publisher and a service organization,..I feel considerable concern for the “average battler” ,..who is now confronted with a massive increase in his or her mortgage rate and monthly repayments and then with a seriously reduced disposable income (maybe reduced by up to $1500 per month in many instances ) consumers are now confronted in massive price increases when it comes to their Grocery expenditure not to mention Wine !
It is in this overall context,..that on my return to Oz I started conducting a Review of the ALDI Seasonal Wine Offering which I am always happy to do. ,..
“It has always been my opinion that Australian wine consumers shouldn’t have to fork out $20 plus dollars for a half way decent bottle of wine... and the large Supermarkets tend to have large markups and offer an expensive and perhaps overpriced range of wines and are notorious for “screwing their suppliers the winemakers.”
Of course,…because of the prevailing archaic and outdated British Grocer philosophy and mentality ,..they do offer Specials with Discounts that are worth following ,..but if you want access to a consistent good range of budget wines and constant pricing for everyday drinking (and even special occasions) then ALDI is the go,..and certainly they have the products to match. ,..because what they offer in their albeit limited range of wines ,..gives the price conscious consumer the opportunity to save hundreds of dollar per month. As a former retailer,importer, Wine Judge and journalist/publisher,.. I am very familiar with the global wine offering and the various Price and Quality price points ,..so all I can say is ,..Well done ALDI -you have done it again- Good and Different!
As regards purchasing wine from the smaller independent retailers ,.in my experience it is very hard to get a decent price ,..maybe they are good for convenient one of purchases ,..but a wise consumer would not be loading up his cellar at an independent retailer,..unless you want to pay 20 % extra ,..although there are some exceptions to the rule here,.. and I will cover the Top Independent Wine Providores in another article.
Right- You have come to this page to read our wine review about ALDI’s seasonal wines..so here goes…
Firstly ,In the interests of transparency I need to declare that as any other working and professional wine writer I periodically receive Tasting stock and samples from various Retailers,.vineyards and Wine importers in order to facilitate the process of assessing the wines and reviewing them for the benefit of our readers and wine consumers in general. This applies to both to the Sydney Times and the upmarket prestige Connoisseur Magazine London (which deals with the Fine Wines for Collectors and Investors and the Hospitality sector at the top end of the global wine market.
Into the “Nitty Gritty” of the ALDI Seasonal Range!
I had tasted several of these wines previously but there were many new wines and I was quite amazed at the quality and value for money. As a working journalist I have always had a fascination for ALDI’s ability to source excellent wines at relatively low price points and none exemplifies this more so then the Champagne (below),..which is basically offered at half the price of the big brands like Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot from the LVMH stable ,..which spends millions on expensive advertising.
- Monsigny Champagne Premier Cru NV – $34.99 (Available October – December 2022)
A step up, from its younger sibling the Brut Selection NV, this Premier Cru Champagne produced by an awarded family estate in the hallowed town of Epernay, is a complex, creamy style with notes of red apples, toasty brioche, baked bread backed up by some refreshing acidity. It is a fact of life that Champagne prices are on the way up. According to Jason Bowyer,. Chief Wine Buyer for ALDI Australia: “There has been excessive inflation on dry goods (glass, labels, hoods, etc) along with extensive delays for these.”
He further advises that “upwards of 7 months, it has been very challenging for all wine businesses in Europe. Our Monsigny has lifted from $22.99 to $26.99 over the course of the last 9 months. Vintage 20 and 21 were down 30%, so the houses have major supply challenges. This with fruit price increases, have made things very difficult, but our value prevails well. You can buy Monsigny at $26.99 or you could by Moet at $65.00 or Mumm at $60.00, so the value is still incredible.”
*See my Review of the Monsigny Premier Cru Champagne by Googling Monsigny Premier Cru
“Still a fabulous champagne with toasted brioche like complexity good mouth filling structure-and length -this bubbly certainly has a bit of finesse about it,..but I hope the hospitality professionals don’t buy it all up and leave some for the punters,..be quick!”
- Collezione Oro Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG – $12.99 (Available October 2022- December 2022)
Tasting Notes: Hailing from the famous Valdobbiadene sub-region, this Prosecco bursts with pretty pear and floral fruits. It’s crisp, fresh, and laced with white exotic fruits and a lingering finish.
Not a big fan of Prosecco these days ,..(except for the upmarket prestige ones) but it does have the pear and fruit bouquet and flavours/balanced acidity,.. and it is better then many I have tasted around the $20 mark. Certainly better then the Aussie copy stuff.
- Collezione Oro Veneto Prosecco Rose Millesimato 2021 Brut – $12.99 (Available October 2022 – March 2023)
Tasting Notes: Pale to bright summer pink colour with aromas of white strawberry, light pear and crunchy complexity. It’s soft and creamy with freshness to match a mild dash of sweetness and lightly savoury finish.
- Tatachilla Low Alcohol Sauvignon Blanc 2022- $8.99 (Available October 2022 – March 2023)
Tatachilla’s winemaking approach is inspired by Mediterranean coastal living with light & fresh wines.
Tasting Notes: This Sauvignon Blanc is vibrant, aromatic and crisp, perhaps a tad delicate,.. in a delicate lower alcohol style, everything a daytime wine should be!
I tried this wine on two successive days and enjoyed it both times ,.even my mate Karl who was on the Tasting Panel for some of the wines ,..and is a big white wine aficionado ,.said it was very pleasant on the palate with good flavour characteristics and fresh balanced acidity,..and refreshing…and also good value!
So French by La Mule Grenache – Cinsault (Rose), Vin De France 2021- $9.99
- So French by La Mule Grenache Blanc Sauvignon, Vin De France 2021- $9.99 (Available October-Dec 2022)
Produced by Francois Lurton, well known for delivering amazing quality. A blend of 65% Grenache Blanc and 35% Sauvignon Blanc.
Tasting Notes: This is a fresh, crispy, and mouth wateringly refreshing white blend with aromas of fresh citrus, white stone fruits and grapefruit. Average vine age is 35 years and the terroir was a mix of schist, slate and chalky soils that somewhat shows up in the texture and freshness of this wine.
In spite of the slightly “Kitsch teenage Beach Art label” that I also mention in the Rose review,..,.. the ultimate test is the wine en bouche,..and this French white has a good interesting flavour profile and although Grenache Blanc isn’t one of the most popular white wine varieties ,..this combination of Sav Blanc and Grenache Blanc by winemaker Francis Lurton works well,..interesting mixture of fruit flavours with a bit of minerality and intensity on the back plate ,,so I enjoyed this wine,.. and to think a French white is available for a tenner is unbelievable,..How do they do it?
- The Venturer Series Riverina King Valley Pinot Grigio 2022 – $9.99 (Available October 2022 -March 2023)
Tasting Notes: Fresh, crisp, zippy and loaded full of Nashi pear aromas with hints of honeysuckle and lychee. Refreshing, it’s jam-packed with flavours of juicy green pear and pear blossom and finishes with mouth-watering acidity and a light dry palate.
This is a good Pinot Grigio and has won some awards for a good reason,..but I am afraid my palate is getting a bit jaded after 10 years of Pinot Grigio. However Karl said it was quite intense with well defined and balanced flavours and much better than the cheapies! I suspect that in the right setting with the right Antipasto foods a bit of prosciutto ,..and olives ,..I would have also enjoyed it more…
- L’Expression du Pinot Gris, Vin de France 2021 – $8.99 (Available October 2022 -March 2023)
Tasting Notes: Mid straw in colour this is a pretty example of this variety with gently aromatic pear and floral aromas with quite a generous level of flavour. It’s then dry, fresh and tangy with juicy acidity and a little bit of grip to finish.
Personally I am not a big fan of Australian or New Zealand Pinot Gris (don’t forget it is a wine made from the same Pinot Grigio grape variety,..but using different ripening and winemaking techniques),..BUT Quel Surprise -this French wine has a radically different flavour profile and noce texture and balance. None of the boringly predictable pear drop flavours ,..it actually offers up a fruity Pear dominant flavours but also seductive floral tones which add an extra dimension..amazing how the French have been able to coaxe out these extra flavour characteristics giving the wine more complexity!
Wolf Blass Exclusive Release Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2021 – $14.99
- Wolf Blass Exclusive Release Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2021 – $14.99 (Available October-Dec 2022)
Sourced from selected vineyards in the Adelaide Hills that show diversity in vineyard altitudes and soils has ultimately resulted in a true reflection of the region’s terroir.
Tasting Notes: Juicy, fresh cut white peach and nectarine provides a succulent flavour base to the mid palate. This is complemented by a fine acid structure that provides length intertwining with well-balanced oak delivering a complexity that keeps you coming back for more.
I love Adelaide Hills Chardonnay and I actually grew up in Adelaide in the foothlls ,.so I ave always been proud the South Aussie wines,..and been a bit of an ambassador for Aussie wines in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. So I was relishing the opportunity to taste this ,..and the back label said it all White stonefruit,!!!! I repeat white sonefruit ,..of course it was clearly a chardonnay but the White Nectarine flavours were quite intense and a bit one dimensional,..but it has finesse alright,..a great summer White however ,..and I wouldn’t knock back another shot at this wine… Probably the ideal wine and food combination that comes to mind would be to serve “Wolfies White” with a Big Fat Tiger Prawn and Mango salad ..that would be a “cracker combination”,..and if you ever visit the Adelaide Hills and Handorf -don’t forget to visit the Wolf Blass Wine Museum – he really was an Aussie -German iconic and Legendary Wine Maker!
- Blackstone Paddock “Limited Release” Margaret River Chardonnay 2021- $19.99 (Available October-Dec 2022)
The Blackstone Paddock wines deliver the purest form of regionality, combined with the skills of our highly acclaimed winemaker, this chardonnay delivers unrivalled value and calibre.
Tasting Notes: Distinctly flinty and complex with layers of stone fruit, grapefruit and honeysuckle blossom. Layered and textured with Burgundian techniques and a dash of sulphides to drive complexity and interest one expects in high end Chardonnay.
In common with many other people,I tend to keep the best things till last,.. and that certainly applies to this sumptuous drop,..I have previously waxed lyrical about this wine (along with other notable wine scribes I might add) and I was curious to see if they could maintain their standards. So knowing that I had a publishing deadline of 7 pm sunday ,..for this review I was forced to taste this wine at 7.00 am this morning (after an Espresso and a croissant),…way too early to taste wine I am sure you will agree!.. Anyway ,. a quick swirl in the glass and on the pallette was enough to stimulate my sensorial analysis sufficient to realize that this wine was once again Nectar of the Gods,..ok I have had better not least the mighty GIACONDA from Beechworth made by legendary winemaker Rick Kinzbrunner …but for a commercial drop I would say this is still one of the best value wines in Oz… Stock up while you can ,.because in truth,.. it is the equal and maybe better then the $60 dollar “chardies” that come out of the Margaret River region as confirmed by the Competition Medals!!
- So French by La Mule Grenache – Cinsault (Rose), Vin De France 2021- $9.99 (Available October 2022 – March 2023)
A blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Cinsault to create and inspire a fresh and bright ballerina pink Rose.
Tasting Notes: Lifted wild red fruits of strawberry and redcurrant and citrus. It shows off plenty of crunchy red fruits, a light savoury creaminess finishing with fresh lively acidity.
In spite of the slightly “Kitsch Teenage Beach Art label” which is an evolution of the La Mule Rose Label ,..(also a bloody good value Rose available at ALDI) I was pleasantly surprised buy the content of the bottle!,…I suppose that a summery Provence wine like this doesn’t need a classic label ,..and a bit of beachside or picnic frivolity is called for in difficult times. Maybe I am just an “old fuddy duddy!” But as I said,.. the ultimate test is the wine en bouche,..and it was a full and powerful mouth filling palate of rose fruit,..with great length and intensity ,…I would say that I got more enjoyment from this 10 dollar job then I have had from some of the “strawberry’s and cream $40 dollar Roses” like Whispering Angel,..that the socialites in the Eastern suburbs drink! The structure and intensity were memorable,..and I am going to buy a few bottles for my own cellar,..so I guess that sounds like a recommendation does it not!?
This could be the Best Value French Rose wine in Australia for sure,.. I am going to buy a few bottles for my cellar,..and a bit of Summer drinking-A Sante!
Core Range New Vintage Release
11.South Point Riverina Pinot Grigio 2022 – $4.99
Tasting Notes: This wine is pale straw in appearance, wonderful floral aroma and a crisp cleansing palate. Easy drinking with an abundance of varietal characteristic. Focus is on freshness, varietal character and having a nice line of refreshment to the palate.Jason the Wine Manger at ALDI Australai puts it ina nutshell-when He sais “Everyone loves a summertime bargain and this is a cracker.!”
Whilst this wine is in the list I didn’t receive the sample bottle so have no tasting Verdict for this wine,..however Karl has had a few of these wines “commercial quaffers” and gives his full approval for a wine at this price point.!
This wine is actually a Double Gold Medal winner at the MIWC 2022 – Best Pinot Grigio of Show! https://melbourneinternationalwinecompetition.com/index.php/2022-winners/
TASTING STOCK AND AORIGINAL TASTING NOTES PROVIDED BY ALDI