The next two bottles from the latest Aldi Wine Club tasting panel arrived recently. Both were sourced from their ‘Exquisite’ range and with no red this time, we have a white and a rosé to try.
Exquisite Collection Albariño 2015, Rias Baixas, Spain, 12%, £5.99
Well-known within wine loving circles, the region of Rias Baixas and the Albariño grape variety might not be the most familiar of Spanish offerings to the general public, but the good news is that this is another case of the right grape growing in the right place. Albariño (known as Alvarinho in Portugal) produces distinctive wines and works well in the Atlantic Ocean influenced wetter conditions of the north-western corner of Spain, just north of the Portuguese border.
Bottled under screw-cap, this wine is a nice clean lemon yellow in colour, with a fresh and inviting nose. There’s a good sprinkling of zesty citrus with heaps of lemon backed up by lime, fresh grass and floral notes, clean green fruit of both apples and pears, and a slight toastiness which rounds out the good full, intense experience.
The palate is led by the fresh lemon citrus and followed by tropical yellow fruit of melon and pineapple along with peach skin and light floral touches. Even though this wine is absolutely all about the fresh clean fruits (which it has in good measure and pairs well with the steely crisp high acid) I found it slightly lacking in the mid-palate. This dipped the intensity leaving just the acid and also had a knock on effect to the length, which wasn’t overly long.
All in all, this is an easy enough wine to drink with or without food, but I will have to re-taste before I can recommend or fully evaluate it. One last thing to add is that if I can’t make a full decision on a wine, I leave the rest of the bottle for a re-taste the next evening. In this case, it was good enough to be gone in one evening, which does draw conclusions of its own.
Exquisite Collection Cótes de Provence Rosé NV, France, 13.5%, £5.99
This wine, like the Albariño above, was picked out by The Telegraph newspaper as a key wine for the summer of 2014, and right from pouring, I can see I’m going to like it.
In a subtle and canny way of keeping quality in line with price, this wine isn’t from any particular vintage, but is rather a blend of years (NV meaning ‘Non Vintage’). In the classic Provence style it is comprised of four different grape varieties (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvédre and Cinsault) which is the regional speciality both in the southern Rhone and continuing in to the south-east of France.
My initial description of how the wine looked in the glass started with the word ‘luminous’ – it had a clear vibrancy (and I use this word often, so it surpassed even that!) with a colour that blended onion skin and wild salmon. It was clear that this wine would have depth.
The nose was intense as expected, with fresh strawberries and cream leading the way, followed by the stone fruit of peach and nectarine. There was a little extra sweetness to the nose that suggested all things confectionary, but it wasn’t overplayed.
On the palate the signature strawberries and cream continued, alongside peach, lemon and watermelon, all giving a good weighted mouthfeel. The acid was placed lower in the mix and kept the palate refreshing whilst allowing ripe fruits to come to the fore. The length was good and added smoke and further darker notes.
I’ve never been able to put my finger on the dark notes at the end of some rosé wines and often end up listing them as something like ‘a pleasant bitterness’. Utilising the internet, apparently they are known as ‘salty minerality’ which comprises black skinned olives, brine, and even meat. Once aware I could instantly pick out these characteristics. Being fairly unusual characters in wine this was a good eye-opener for me.
The labelling for this bottle is in-keeping with the rest of the ‘Exquisite’ range (the use of the colour blue to offset the contents, clear good looking scripts and fonts, the winemakers signature etc.), but if I had one negative against this wine it would be the funny shaped bottle. At best it looks like a novelty, but at worst appears simply as a wine ‘alternative’ or soft drink (Orangina springs to mind).
Overall this wine embodies what it is to be part of the Aldi Wine Club, in that it has allowed me to try a wine that I perhaps would not have picked off the shelf, it has enabled me to learn something new about the world of wine, and it again has me scratching my head as to how Aldi can bring in such quality at such market-friendly prices.
I’ll be picking up more of this when I pop in to get the replacement bottle of Albariño.
With thanks to Aldi UK for supplying the bottle used in this tasting.