'Sensational': The best Aldi wines for Christmas party season
Aldi offers more than just a range of supermarket wines. At their best, they produce wines which challenge the finest in the cauldron which is Australia's wine show system.
Currently available are the 2019 Blackstone Paddock Chardonnay ($17) winner of Best Chardonnay and Best White Wine at the 2020 Margaret River Wine Show and the 2018 Blackstone Paddock Cabernet Sauvignon ($18) which won Best Cabernet and the Max Schubert Trophy for Best Red Wine at the 2019 Adelaide Show. In both cases, they outscored wines which sell for more than five times their price.
The 2019 Blackstone Paddock Chardonnay is a sensational wine: complex, and powerful with classy oak and an almost overwhelming intensity of grapefruit flavour; crisp and minerally to finish. The 2018 Blackstone Paddock Cabernet Sauvignon has an enticing bouquet of blackcurrant and black olive characters, is soft and velvety, vibrant and deep, long and fresh. Approachable now yet with aging potential. Stunning value for money.
Their secret: Aldi work with tight margins to enable them to develop mutually beneficial relationships with winemakers. They target those who have outstanding track records in shows and can make small parcels from dedicated vineyards. No expense is spared in the winemaking process. The strike rate helps establish a reputation for Aldi.
My favourites of the other Aussie wines made for Aldi were the 2018 Blackstone Paddock Barossa Valley Shiraz ($18) - classy dark plum and black cherry flavours, soft, round and fleshy, rich and approachable; and the AC Byrne Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon ($8) - immaculately clean, fresh garden herb characters, vibrant, taut and dry.
There's a raft of overseas wines headed by the obligatory champagne. The bottle of Monsigny Premier Cru Champagne NV ($30) that I tried was a little closed to start with but opened up and zipped along with the effervescence that you'd expect: intense and lively with a refreshing mouthfeel and crisp clean finish. Pleasing and good value for money.
New Zealand is well-represented: with my favourite being the 2019 Kaiora Bay Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ($13). It has pristine kiwifruit, gooseberry flavours: is crisp, fine and dry with refreshing acidity.
Most of the others on the import lists are country wines from Spain, Italy and France. While I'm a fan of these, Aldi has chosen less well-known regions because that's where the value is.
The 2019 Hermanos Lurton Rueda Rose ($12) is made from tempranillo and the region of Rueda. It has a savoury pink tinge, is bright with red cherry flavours and a pleasing dry finish. The 2019 Nerissimo Verdeca Publia ($10) is an indigenous variety from Puglia which doesn't have much varietal character but is pleasantly tangy and a pleasing accompaniment to many pasta dishes. 2018 Pajaro De Buen Aguero Carinena Garnacha ($10) is grenache from near Zaragosa - wonderful red berry perfumes, medium-bodied with a tannin grip that demands a robust paella.
The Aldi list is no ordinary list of supermarket wines with its standouts giving it a compelling edge.
Most of the wines represent good value for money, some great value. All are cheap and customers are encouraged to experiment because the cost for one bottle is the same as the dozen price.