Supermarket Aldi showcased 119 sparkling and still wines in its 2023 UK spring/summer collection – half of them new.
In January 2023, the discount German supermarket chain made the controversial decision to stop all of its online operations. This means its current range of 223 wines is only available to purchase at (or through a click-and-collect service to) one of its 990 UK stores.
Scroll down for scores and tasting notes of the best Aldi wines
Aldi first started selling wine and spirits online in 2015, charging customers £3 for home delivery orders under £50.
But thanks to huge sales growth during the pandemic, and from the cost of living crisis driving more budget-conscious shoppers to its doors, deliveries have been deemed an unnecessary expense. It is now focusing on increasing its branches nationwide, including up to 50 more in Greater London.
With prices ranging from £3.89 for the non-vintage Grapevine Spanish Merlot to £21.99 for the last few bottles of 2015 Veuve Monsigny Blanc de Blancs Champagne (which Decanter first recommended back in October 2021), the focus of the spring/summer tasting – as always with Aldi – was on affordable quality.
Aldi’s buyers Josh Heley (still wines) and Andy Maxwell (sparkling and fortified wines) know their customers, however the high residual sugar – perceived or actual – in a large number of the wines detracted from that quality, particularly at lower price points.
On a positive note, some suppliers have changed, meaning that a few ranges – particularly a couple of wines under the South African Cambalala label – have improved.
The 14 varietal or dominant Sauvignon Blanc wines remains excessive, particularly as the buyers said a key focus for this spring/summer collection was to offer ‘great-value alternatives to popular styles and flavours’.
Familiar and eclectic styles
But for those seeking familiar varieties, Merlot was a surprising strong point. Cambalala’s South African Merlot – one of those from a new supplier – was the pick of its Specially Selected Range (see recommendations), alongside examples from the Californian Beachfront (£6.79), French Pierre Jaurant (£5.79) and Australian Kooliburra (£4.49) labels.
A South African take on the Portuguese grape Fernão Pires tops the exciting eclectic buys among the new wines in the Aldi range (see recommendations), though you will have to wait until July for it to hit shelves.
Available now (and recommended below) is the Chardonnay from Filos Estate – the Greek winery that produced the much-heralded 2020 and 2021 Aspri Petra single-vineyard Assyrtiko – as well as a Specially Selected Marlborough Riesling Blush rosé under the Freeman Bay label from New Zealand.
Since Decanter last reviewed the Aldi range in October 2022, there’s nothing new of note among the sparkling wines. But depending on your taste and price point, the picks are the Costellore, Specially Selected Valdobbiadene Superiore Prosecco NV (£7.99), Veuve Monsigny, Premier Cru Champagne NV (£19.99) and Bowler & Brolly, Winemaster’s Lot Classic Cuvée English Brut NV (£19.99).
Aldi wines: Decanter’s pick of the best buys
The first 23 wines are new recommendations. The others are still available in store.