ALISTAIR GIBSON: The cut-price supermarket that'sÂ pushing the boundaries
You have to hand it to Aldi, inÂ the past decade the supermarket chain has certainly established itself on theÂ UK high street.
In terms of its wine offering there is no doubt whatsoever that the range has gone from
strength-to-strength. WithÂ the launch of its online wine shopÂ sales increased by some 40 per centÂ last year.
The wine range maybe be far smaller than many of the more traditional supermarkets but there doesÂ seem to be a fairly constant desire to be innovative and to introduce new wines regularly.
I recently tastedÂ some of Aldi's new Wine Festival range and whileÂ '“Â if I'm completely honest '“ they didn't all work, there reallyÂ were a couple of stand-out wines. And, of course, valueÂ is the key word here.
Los Gansos Gewurztraminer 2017,Â Chile (Aldi Â£6.99) is a wine I've not seen for quite a few years and I can only imagine that Aldi have purchased aÂ parcel of this wine.
Of course, Gewurztraminer is a bit of a Marmite wine but this a great introduction to this
very distinctive grape.
The nose is very aromatic, it literally explodes out of the glass.
It'sÂ full of lychee and roseÂ petals and, if you will allow me, Turkish delight.
The palate is quite oily, but in a good way, with rich fruit and justÂ enough acidity to jeep it in balance.
This would be absolutely perfect with a dish of sweet and sour chicken andÂ would work well with a quite a range of Chinese or Indian dishes.
With its slightly punky, label Down the LaneÂ Shiraz Tempranillo 2016, SE Australia (Aldi Â£6.99) is certainly lots of fun.
The wine is made by one ofÂ Australia's best-known producers, De Bortoli, and without question it takes Spain as its influence.
Blending shiraz with Spain's most well recognised grape, tempranillo is a neat idea, there are raspberries and cherriesÂ and a touch of spice on the nose followed by a nice fresh mouth-feel with easy, smooth fruit.
It is the sort ofÂ simple red wine that would be easy to quaff with friends around a summer barbecue, but in the meantime tryÂ it with sausage and mash for a midweek supper.
Earth's Essence Shiraz 2017, Swartland (Aldi Â£6.99) is one ofÂ the most interesting and innovative wines I've tasted for some time.
FirstlÂ of all it's made from shiraz grownÂ in South Africa's currently hip and trendyÂ region the Swartland. But,Â more interestingly, it's made without theÂ use of sulphur which for those people who are sensitive to sulphur has to be a good thing.
It's aged by aÂ revolutionary process which has been developed by South African wine producer KWV using wood extracts fromÂ the native rooibos and honeybush plants.
They possess naturally high levels of antioxidants, which preserveÂ the wines from oxidation hence these is no need to add sulphur to the winemaking process.
It's very fresh withÂ juicy red fruits a touch of spice, ripe tannins and a tasty, satisfying finish. Try this with a simple tomato basedÂ pasta dish.
Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail