Time now to review the final two wines from the 8th Aldi Wine Club panel. First up is another wine from their Exquisite range.
Exquisite Pinot Noir Rosé 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13%, £6.49
With the rest of the 8th panel being comprised of white wines this Rosé from the Pinot Noir grape is about as close as I am going to come to a red. Like the rest of the Exquisite range the dominant type labelling and Royal blue colour of the screw cap immediately makes the bottle look smart and sets off the colour of the wine.
Marlborough is of course best known for its signature grape of Sauvignon Blanc. Based at the northern tip of the southern island at a fairly low latitude it is certainly cool enough to grow the very fussy Pinot Noir variety, whilst still remaining warm and sunny. This cooler climate allows the grapes to have a long growing season and fully ripen without being scorched in the sun. We can tell from the alcohol content of 13% that these grapes have probably seen a long hang-time allowing the sugars to build up nice and slowly.
In colour this is a nice deep darkish pink which I always liken to wild salmon, with just a tinge of onion skin. In typical style for a youthful New World Rosé the nose is incredibly full and fruity and stuffed full of wild strawberry, raspberry, redcurrant and maybe a touch of cranberry. In addition there is a touch of lemon citrus, and all the fruit smells deep, ripe and incredibly inviting.
The palate begins with lemon and lime citrus and then hits you with a zingy fresh acidity. In addition to the list of red fruits that you could detect on the nose the palate also adds a nice creamy texture and weight but, if I had one criticism, this weight has a tendency to disappear in the mid-palate. This isn’t too much of a worry though as the fresh acidity has enough strength to guide you through to a good length finish. This wine delivers exactly what you would expect it to, which is a bright and breezy refreshing wine that is great on its own or will stand up to many foods including starters, or even on to lighter main courses.
At £6.49 this is one of the pricier bottles from Aldi, but is still very good value for something that would be perfectly palatable any weekday.
Venturer Series Cótes De Gascogne IGP, Colombard /Gros Manseng blend 2015, £11.5%, £4.79
To finish the series off we have something a little unusual in that this wine isn’t sourced from the Exquisite range which has been the stalwart of the previous tastings. It’s also comprised of two grape varieties that many casual wine consumers may not be aware of, and where a good review can work wonders to open them up to something which they may not initially gravitate towards.
The Cótes De Gascogne (literally translating as ‘the slopes of Gascony’) hails from south-western France. The region is widely associated with smaller farmers who are part of larger co-operatives producing entry level wines known as ‘Vin de Pays’ (or ‘wine of the land’). The Columbard grape began life as a French variety but, being the offspring of Chenin Blanc, has latterly found most of its fame in South African wines where both varieties thrive. Gros Manseng is a native of southwest France and, due to its high yields, is particularly suited to creating large volumes of everyday entry-level wine.
Perhaps hinting at its lower than average alcohol level of 11.5%, the colour of this wine is a light and delicate lemon yellow with hints of green to the rim. The nose is floral and light with lots of evident citrus and the fresh cut grass aromas usually associated with Sauvignon Blanc.
The palate is extremely zingy with a fresh acid commanding the light to medium body. There’s a fresh hit of lime followed by both watermelon and grapefruit as well as perhaps just a touch of peach at the end. The good length finish is drawn in with a nice creaminess (I’m borrowing from the label when I identify this as lemon curd) and overall this is easy to drink and completely refreshing.
At £4.79 it is priced absolutely for what it is, and it’s great that you can still buy these everyday quaffing wines and get change from a fiver. Don’t let the odd grape varieties put you off!
With thanks to Aldi UK for supplying the bottle used in this tasting.