Aldi Wine Club 16th Tasting Panel – Note #6

The final wine from the 16th Aldi Wine Club panel is a red from Costiéres de Nímes in southern France.  Historically part of the very large ‘catch-all’ Languedoc appellation which produces wines from a myriad of different grapes and in varying styles, it now comes under the wing of the neighbouring Rhone appellation.

Aldi Costiere

With a style of wine very similar in nature to those produced in the southern Rhone, this makes absolute sense.  The Mediterranean climate is warm and sunny, which allows the grapes to fully ripen, the sugars to maximise, and the winemaker to deliver a powerful wine.

Venturer Costiéres de Nímes 2016, France, 14%, £5.49

Produced under the branding of Aldi’s ‘Venturer’ range, the striking blue label is well presented, with a pretty (almost gift-like) design carried from the main label through to the neck covering.  In a similar style to the wines of nearby Cháteauneuf du Pape the bottle has some wonderful embossing that delivers a true air of elegance and value.

Costieres Detail

A nice further subtle packaging touch comes from the side of the cork, which is proudly branded ‘Valle du Rhone’.

In colour this is a dark and inky black wine immediately drawing you towards the notion that this is made in a full and chunky style.  A light youthful purple rim offsets the almost opaque centre colouring.

On the nose there are densely packed well ripened, almost raisined, fruits.  Wild black cherry is inter-mingled with blackberries, prunes and herbaceous brambles.  On top of this there are the floral touches of both vanilla and violets as well as the darker notes of black coffee.  This is stacked full of intensity.

The palate deals well with the stewed nature of the darker fruits, and the wine is dense but not chewy, thick but not cloying.  Lots of pepper spice is dotted throughout like a well-seasoned Merlot or Shiraz, and counter-balances the sheer volume of ripe fruit.

Aldi Costiere Back Label

The acidity comes in on the lighter side of medium attempting to tame the beast and, to me, feels just a touch too light to allow the palate to be 100% balanced.  As such, the stewed fruit still manages to carry a touch of harshness as well as ripeness.

As suspected, a little time in the glass allowed the depth to evolve further and smooth out the rough edges, even allowing a little light grain tannin to appear from within the dominant fruit.  The overall sensation was rustic, powerful, but perhaps, just looking for a little finesse to top it off.

I suspect that may well come with a perfect food to match up to the robust style, so if you’re looking for a wine to partner up with some serious meats, stews, or other winter warmers, it would well be worth giving this wine a try.

With Thanks to AldiUK for supplying the bottle used in this tasting.

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Taste of London / Les Dauphins

Les Dauph3

The Taste of London event draws to a close this weekend, bringing the curtain down on the spectacular array of food and drinks from both artisan producers and premium brands.  The setting was the magnificent manicured surroundings of Regents Park, and the sun was fully shining on the 200+ exhibitors.  Some of the finest food establishments in London were represented including those of celebrity chefs Theo Randall and Marcus Wareing, who were happily milling around with attendees answering any questions and posing for photos.  I desperately wanted to try Marcus’ Salted Caramel soft serve honeycomb ice cream, but ran out of time, and thus my foodie highlight remained a dish from the restaurant chain MEATliquor.  Specialising in American style meat dishes, I tried their ‘Dead Hippie Slider’, and the meat was sooooo juicy. It’s clear that the chain is appropriately named.

There were also numerous cooking demonstrations from world renowned chefs, and I attended the session led by Andrea Zagatti, sampling his delicious air dried duck and white asparagus dish.  The WSET were also on hand in ‘The Mr Vine Wine Theatre’ to run masterclasses, led by wine expert Jane Parkinson, on wine tasting and wine-food matching.

Les Dauph2

Alongside multiple beers and ciders, the world of wine was very well represented, from the traditional French (Laurent Perrier) to the less-seen Thai (Monsoon Valley).  It was also great to see representation from English wine producers such as Chapel Down and Digby showing their wares.

With that said, I was attending courtesy of Les Dauphins, a French wine producer from the sun drenched vineyards of the southern Rhóne who, in my opinion have one of the most striking wine labels on the market, which really evokes a traditional France.  The team were happy to let me taste through the full range that they were showing on the day which comprised of their Reserve White, Reserve Red, Cótes du Rhóne Villages Grande Réserve Red, and the Vinsobres Red.  My favourite was the Villages Grande Réserve, which was full of flavour, yet easy to drink on its own.  The Vinsobres, although clearly more complex, had a firmer tannin and needed to be paired with food (I’m sure there is an irony in me saying this, tasting it on its own at a huge food and wine event).

After being (easily) coaxed in to recording a short promotional video for them (which is due to appear online anytime now – I will post a link to it when available), I was the proud owner of a goody bag, including a poster of the fabulous label artwork but, more importantly, a couple of bottles of wine to take home.  Without further ado, here’s my verdicts:

Les Dauph1

Les Dauphins Cótes du Rhóne Reserve White 2014 – 12.5% abv – RRP £7.99

White wine definitely comes second to red wine in the southern Rhóne and so it’s always good to taste one.  This is a blend of Grenache (65%), Marsanne (15%), Clairette (10%) and Viognier (10%), and the grapes are picked at night or in the early morning to preserve their freshness.  The resulting wine is matured on its lees for 2-6 months, and the back label describes it as a “white with attitude”.

The colour of the wine is a straw lemon, with hints of green and gold. The nose is a full intense and expressive mix of green and yellow fruit – pear and grapefruit to start, moving on to ripe yellow melon, peach and dried pineapple.

On the palate you receive a deliciously weighted body, comprised of dense tasting fruits.  The green fruit continues, twinned with lovely zesty lemon citrus.  The acidity is medium and well balanced, and the oil and butter tones all add to the luscious weight of the wine.  This, in turn, aids the medium-plus length which is carried by the fruit and citrus.  A pleasure to try and reassuringly distinct in this price bracket.

Les Dauphins Cótes du Rhóne Red 2014 – 13% abv – RRP £7.99

A traditional Rhóne grape mix of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (respectively 70%, 25% and 5% of the blend), the bunches are totally destalked, go through regular pumping-over to aid extraction, and are then matured in concrete tanks.

The colour is a youthful vibrant purple.  On the palate, a refreshing acidity guides you towards youthful ripe dark black fruits of both cherry and currants, and touches of plum.  Tannins are evident, but fine grained and well structured, and the medium weight is rounded out with perceptible spice and pepper.  All in all, this smooth wine gives you a deep dark warmth and leaves a medium-plus length behind it.  A good quality wine in this price range.

With thanks to Les Dauphins for providing both the wines and entrance to ‘Taste Of London’.  All reviews are conducted impartially.

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