I must admit that, when I first got a view of the 2nd wave of wines selected for the 16th panel of the Aldi Wine Club, I did think there was a chance that things could hit a mid-panel lull. My initial belief that I had tasted both of the wines already was, as per my last post, initially wrong and, as it turned out, 100% wrong.
With this Pinot Noir we’re once again tasting from the Aldi flagship Exquisite Collection and just like the Chardonnay, the screw cap, neck brace and label all have clear signs of being well thought through, even down to the sloping cut at the top of the front label which is a really stylish and subtle touch.
The only minus points go once again for the obligatory signature from winemaker Jon McNab giving his bottle/blend approval. Why wouldn’t he approve it?
The last time I tasted (what I believed to be) this Pinot Noir was as part of the 13th panel back in April 2017, in a cheese and wine pairing. As it transpired, the original Pinot was from the Sauvignon Blanc stronghold of Marlborough which, although at a very similar latitude, is from the northern part of New Zealand’s south island as opposed to the southern part of the north island, which is where this wine hails from.
Both locations are far enough away from the equator to have the cool climate and temperatures needed to ripen the thin-skinned and fussy Pinot Noir variety, and a quick look at the Aldi website shows that the Marlborough based wine is no longer available. Perhaps this Wairarapa version is a new substitution for the range? I did pitch the question to Aldi but, as yet, haven’t received an answer.
As per website reviews, other Aldi customers have also been confused as to the origin of their wine, and it doesn’t help that both wines are packaged virtually identically.
Exquisite Collection Pinot Noir 2016, Wairarapa, New Zealand, 13%, £6.99
In colour this was a plummy cherry purple with a lighter red rim hinting at the youthful and thin skinned fruit.
The nose was very expressive and full of herbaceous woody notes with just a sprinkling of floral vanilla and a whiff of smoke. Also detectable was a touch of diesel, and very precise red cherry fruits, dense, dark and ripe.
On the palate there was the lightest of grainy tannin a well as the sweet ripened fruit of both black and red cherry, cranberry, and plum. The overall sensation was of a complex berried compote and, to me, a really wonderful and interesting blend.
The acidity, refreshing but not mouth-watering, helped to round out the palate and take the edge off the fruit as opposed to being a dominant character. The overall palate was direct and forceful, but balanced in a way that one element didn’t interfere with another.
The bottle label is absolutely spot on when it talks of an ‘enduring finish’ which is in the multiple minutes. For me the end palate evolved over time and kept gradually winding through different layers, as opposed to many wines which offer up a direct hit of fruit and then dissipate fairly quickly.
The on-going smoky dusky dark fruit absolutely nailed it and, when given the chance, developed further in to notes that touched upon bitter chocolate and mocha, almost made to be paired with food. I had this wine with sticky honey BBQ ribs where the darker aspects paired with the meat and the fruitier aspects gelled with the sweeter sauce.
Still only £6.99, which is the same price as the Marlborough Pinot tasted 6 months ago, this is a firm favourite with Aldi customers, currently scoring 4 out of 5 stars on the Aldi Website.
My thanks go to AldiUK for supplying the bottle used in this tasting.