Supermarket Aldi showcased 147 sparkling and still wines in its 2023 UK autumn/winter collection, 65 of them new.
With prices starting from £3.45 for the Spanish non-vintage Baron St Jean Blanc (made from the neutral Airen grape) to £21.99 for the Veuve Monsigny, Premier Cru Champagne NV (which Decanter recommended in October 2022 and is still available), the focus of this German supermarket chain, as always, is on affordable quality.
Scroll down for scores and tasting notes of the best Aldi wines
As with all UK supermarket buyers, Josh Heley (still wines) and Andy Maxwell (sparkling and fortified wines), have the difficult task of delivering a versatile wine range amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.
August’s 20% increase in duty (44p per 75cl bottle on wines between 11.5% and 14.5% alcohol to £2.67) has played its part. For example, the blue-label 2022 Buenas Vides, Specially Selected Argentinian Malbec has increased by £1 since Decanter last tasted it in March – from £6.29 to £7.29.
However this and the even better 2021 Buenas Vides, Specially Selected Argentinian Malbec (confusingly with the same name, but a black label) are still two of the best buys in the Aldi range. The black-label version has remained at £8.99 too, so represents even better value by comparison.
Despite the buyers’ drive ‘to deliver new and exciting products’, somewhat disappointingly some of the most recommendable wines from this tasting were not new listings to the Aldi range – or even new vintages of existing wines in the core range – but the same vintage of the same wine which Decanter has recommended following portfolio tastings in April 2023 and October 2022.
The best and the rest on the shelf
Along with the aforementioned black-label Specially Selected Argentinian Malbec and Premier Cru Champagne, these 10 Decanter recommended wines are still available and worth seeking out (listed below, under the 20 new recommendations):
- Costellore, Specially Selected Extra Dry Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore NV
- Filos Estate Greek Chardonnay 2022
- Wrong Turn, South African Fernão Pires 2022
- Chassaux et Fils, Specially Selected Picpoul de Pinet 2022
- Kooliburra, Specially Selected Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2022
- Mimo Moutinho, Dão Touriga Nacional 2021
- Bekaa, Specially Selected Lebanese Red 2020
- Chassaux et Fils, Specially Selected Cairanne 2021
- Cambalala, Specially Selected South African Merlot 2021
- Specially Selected Pedro Ximénez Sherry
Wines still on shelves that Decanter has previously recommended but which are now looking tired include: Chassaux et Fils, Specially Selected Ventoux Rosé 2022; Freeman’s Bay, Specially Selected Riesling Blush 2022 and Beachfront, Specially Selected Californian Pinot Noir 2021.
While its continuing success against high street competitors proves Aldi knows its market, unnecessarily high residual sugar – perceived or actual – in a large number of new and core wines mask their varietal and/or regional typicity, particularly at lower price points and among the sparkling wines.
On a positive note – though you’ll have to wait until they’re on shelves in November – some familiar favourites have returned for the festive season. Highlights are the Bowler & Brolly, Winemaster’s Lot English Sparkling Wine and the Chassaux et Fils, Specially Selected Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé, both non vintage, as well as Chassaux et Fils’ Specially Selected Sauternes 2019 and Fletcher’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port.
In January 2023, Aldi made the controversial decision to stop all of its online operations. This means its current range is only available to purchase at one of its 990 UK stores, 200 of which offer a click-and-collect service.
Aldi wines: Decanter’s pick of the best buys
Of the following 30 recommendations, 20 are wines tasted at the 2023 Autumn/Winter tasting in September and the others are from older tastings but still available in store.