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Bargain cellars

05 December 2014


THERE has been much in the press about how much the UK's Big Four supermarket chains have suffered at the hands of the cut-price interlopers from Germany, Aldi and Lidl; so I thought it would be of interest to those who are seeking to cut their wine costs this Christmas to see what these two chains are offering.

Aldi has its "Exquisite Collection", and, while "exquisite" is not a word I have often heard used about wine, it certainly includes some bargains. The aggressive pricing seems to have been achieved in some cases by having the wine bottled in Britain. A prime example of this is its New Zealand Pinot Noir 2013. This comes from the Wairarapa, an area in the North Island which includes Martinborough, probably the best-known town in the country for Pinot Noir. At £6.99 a bottle, this seems a bargain. Also from New Zealand, and bottled over here, is the Freemans Bay Pinot Gris 2013 at £5.69.

Two wines bottled in Australia also caught my eye: Taylor's Clare Valley Riesling 2014 (£6.99), an ideal accompaniment for your turkey; and the Limestone Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (£6.49), a full-bodied, full-of-fruit wine to wash down your ribs of beef. An alternative would be the Argentine Malbec 2013 from Salentein, at £5.99.

Lidl also has some interesting wines on offer, and its Italian wines seem particularly strong. If you enjoy red wines full of body and with meaty tannins, I suggest that you try its not-so-common Lagrein Trentino 2013 (£5.49). Another Italian speciality is the Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2012 (£8.99). This is produced by adding unpressed grape skins to the wine when its fermentation has finished. This gives added flavour and alcohol.

If you enjoy rosés, Lidl has two to recommend. Drier and lighter in colour is the Domaine de Bracabelle Côtes de Provence 2013 from the leading producer Pradel (£5.99). With more colour and fuller fruit is the Navarra Rosado 2013. If you are a claret traditionalist, but are scared by current prices, the award-winning Ch. Taffard Médoc, 2011 (£6.99), or the Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2011 (£9.99) should not break the bank.

As for dry white wines, ASDA is offering a Picpoul de Pinet 2013 at £4.99, and the rather fuller-bodied Viognier le Grand Caluzy 2013 (£5). Sainsbury's has a great Fairtrade wine from South Africa, the Wellington Chenin Blanc 2013 (£8), and an Australian award-winning Chardonnay from Mudgee, Robert Oatley 2013 (£7.75). For those seeking to broaden their vinous experience, try Waitrose Brazilian Chardonnay 2012 from the Serra Gaucha (£8.99), or, from M&S, the Indian Jewel of Nasik Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (£6.99).

Two lighter, fruity red wines that I might suggest are the Vin de Pays de l'Ardèche Gamay from M&S, or a speciality of the Australian producer Brown Bros., their Tarrango 2012 (Sainsbury's, £7). For those seeking more body for their buck, I can suggest Waitrose's Araldica Barbera d'Asti Superiore 2011 (£8.99). or Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Douro 2012, from Quinta do Crasto (£8.25). There are good wines to be had for less this Christmas.

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