The Christmas Range of Wines, Beers and Spirits from Aldi

Peter Morrell tastes a selection of seasonal drinks from this popular retailer and is highly impressed by the range, the quality and the remarkable value.

For Christmas 2015 Aldi have got an exciting range lined up for your seasonal drinking pleasure. I went along to a tasting recently to see what treats they have got in store. The first thing that struck me was the number of quite rare and unusual drinks that they have on offer. I tasted as many that my liver would allow, here are some of the highlights.

Sparkling

There is nothing so opulent at a party that topping up people’s glasses with a magnum (double sized bottle) Combine this with the fact that prosecco has gushed to the top of the popularity charts and you have a winning combination. This combination can be found with the Grand Mori Prosecco DOC magnum, it’s priced at £11.99, so style and decadence doesn’t have to be expensive.

The all year round, availability of Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut NV (£9.97) is being joined this Christmas by a Rosé (£15.99). This is very dry and offers lots of red cherry fruit flavours. And before we leave the sparklies, it’s been getting quite fashionable to drink a sweeter version with pudding. A good solution for this is the Camoli Moscato Spumante (£4.99) from Piedmont in Italy which gives rich musky notes.

White Wines

From the year round range there are whites which match with shellfish like the Exquisite Collection Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie (£5.29). ‘Sur Lie’ by the way means the wine has been allowed to sit on the sediment which in turn imparts a much stronger and yeasty aroma. There is also the unstoppable Sauvignon Blanc ((£7.99) from Marlborough in New Zealand with luscious nettle, mown grass and tropical flavours.

For the turkey a good match is the Andre Vannier Chablis (£8.99), dry as a bone with lots of flinty minerals or you might try an upmarket Premium Cuvee Sancerre (£11.99) or even the floral/fruity Gavi (£5.49) from North West Italy.

Red Wines

Swinging on to the reds, my weekly shopping at Aldi always has a few bottles of the award winning Tempranillo, Toro Loco (£3.49), it’s now joined by it more muscular brother Toro Loco Reserva 2011, three years older, more mature and a bit stronger. Staying in Spain the Rioja Reserva 2009 (£7.99) delivers on a smoky, oaky taste with a good spicy vanilla background.

The Italian La Altelana Barolo is a steal at (£9.99) giving lots of plummy jam flavours and you must try the Valpolicella Ripasso (£7.00). Ripasso means repassing and is the method of adding the residue of Amarone production to Valpolicella. The fruity freshness of the wine remains but the residue imparts deeper colours and flavours. Finally for the wine buff the two bottle Bordeaux Gift Pack (£19.99). packaged in a wooden box is the ideal present.

Ports

Christmas is a time for indulgence and port it one of those genuine luxuries. You can choose from a Late Bottled Vintage (8.99) or a vintage from 1989 (£19.99) and for the super indulgent there is the Maynard’s 40 year old tawny (£29.99). To put this last port in perspective when this wine was made the average house price in the UK was £10,000!

The Stickies

If you want something sweet with Christmas pud then there some real treats. The Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois (£4.99) is excellent and the Truis Canadian Ice Wine (£24.99) from the Niagara Peninsula is the very essence of the grape, it is picked and pressed at minus 10c, it’s also about half the cost of similar brands.

Liqueurs and Cocktails

For the post prandial liqueurs you can choose the Bellucci Amaretto (£5.99), the Irish Cream Liqueur (£6.99) or the Cherry Brandy (£7.99). For the party afterwards the spirits for cocktails include a Premium Vodka (19.99), the Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin (£9.99) with more juniper flavour than you can shake a stick at or the Old Hopking Dark Rum (£9.99) and for a unique taste experience how about the Salted Caramel Vodka Liqueur (£10.99)?

Beers

For beer drinkers there are English Ales, a French Abbaye beer, with German Lagers and a Wheat beer

Spirits

Finally if you are a sipper rather than a slurper there is a VS Cognac (£15.99), a very classy Armagnac (£24.99), Clarke’s Bourbon (£12.29) and my whiskey of choice in Ireland the Clontarf Single Malt (£19.99)

Right at the end of the tasting I really hit gold, there are three Glen Marnoch Single Malts, Speyside, Highland and Islay. They were all good but the last of the three was a knockout, the island of Islay where is is made is battered by strong salty winds and the sea air seems to get right in the whisky. The iodine and ozone is the background to the most intense flavours of smoke and peat laced with sweetness. When people talk about tasting a drink they often refer to a lingering ‘finish’ in the mouth. This didn’t linger, it moved in and took up residence, I was still savouring the smoky sweetness an hour later.

It was my own brilliant ‘finish’ to the tasting.

These drinks and many more will be appearing on the shelves of Aldi throughout the Autumn. Many of them them are new to people, so do give them a try, they are priced to give you the opportunity to explore a whole world of new taste sensations.

www.aldi.co.uk

As always please drink sensibly – Visit www.drinkaware.co.uk for advice and information.

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