Christmas is an expensive time and many expensive bottles of wine are bought as gifts for father, who often feels compelled to share them with his idiot brother-in-law because he happened to be there when the presents were opened.
Then there is the other idiot brother-in-law who says all wine drinkers are nobs and snobs. Real men like himself drink beer. Not that monkey craft beer rubbish, but real beer, like XXXX, Victoria Bitter or Tooheys.
When we had family gatherings of 20 or so I had no hesitation in assigning places. I was always at the far end with the good brother-in-law and the very best wines. The rest of the table had various wines within reach, the quality depending on the drinkers understanding of the drop. Buggered if I was putting a $100 bottle within reach of the idiots.
Family aside, if you’re an Aldi shopper and wine drinker, it’s worth looking over Aldi’s wine offers. All the below are Aldi wines. Happy drinking.
Champagne ‘Veuve Monsigny’ Brut Rosé NV: This is sound, full-of-flavour champagne, and as a sparkling wine well worth $30. As a fully fledged champagne it’s very good value indeed. If pushed to criticise I would say it was robust rather than elegant, but that’s trifling, as it was very well received by the people I shared it with. 94 points.
Champagne ‘Veuve Monsigny’ Premier Cru NV: I love the nose on this wine, a combination of yeast and apple. It also exhibits aged characters. It’s good quality, well made champagne, and at $30, a steal. 94 points.
Peter Mertes Mosel Riesling 2015: This has a dash of sweetness, with 14 grams of residual sugar, but it’s so well balanced, with rapier-like acidity, that it doesn’t come across as sweet. It is a pure wine that is a pure joy to drink. 94 points and as usual great value at $8.
Qiwila Chile Sauvignon Blanc 2016: I got clear grapefruit on the nose with some grassy character. It‘s a fuller style across the palate but in my mind has moved towards the New Zealand style. Very well made, 93 points and incredibly good value at $7.
Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015: Am I getting paranoid? Is all SB moving towards New Zealand style? This is good but I’m not sure it’s in a Sancerre or Pouilly Fume style. It has that aggressive edge of NZ. 91 points and there are millions of consumers who will love it. At $8 it’s a bargain.
Kaiora Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015: Yes, well, it’s NZ SB. One day the world will be spared such wine, but meantime I have to admit it’s all it should be, so 92 points and the price of $9 is within a suitable price range for NZ SB.
South Point Estate Central Victoria Sauvignon Blanc 2016: Yes, it’s SB, but a different style to NZ SB. It’s clean and crisp, and served cold it’s a great party wine, as it goes down easy and in no way offends. 90 points and at $5 is an outstanding bargain.
Kaiora Bay ‘Reserve’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016: Full-on, top quality NZ sauvignon blanc. Not a style I enjoy drinking but one I admire for its success around the world. 93 points and very good value at $12.
Les Maurins ‘Reserve’ Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc 2015: A rare sauvignon blanc from Aldi that doesn’t taste like a New Zealand SB. It’s slightly fuller and less aggressive, not in that NZ style of stripping the tissue from inside the nostrils. This is a lovely wine to drink while watching the sun set over the valley. 94 points and extremely good value at $8. It’s also good at the table and will be magnificent with cold meats or seafood over Christmas.
AC Byrne Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2016: This is a blend that works well in Margaret River. It has crispness but also some depth, and is a satisfying glass that went very well with cold salmon and salad. 93 points and well worth $10.
Little Birdwood Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc 2016: It’s from the Riverina and a fantastic glass of white wine. I tasted, then sipped my way through most of the bottle. Anyone who is organising an office party or has the family coming around for Christmas, or indeed the summer, would be wise to get a case or three of this. 93 points and at just $5 it’s a killer price.
South Point Estate Pinot Grigio 2016: No region is given other than the non-region of South East Australia. It’s got a PG nose, with some flavour profile. It’s OK and at $5, value. It’s a party wine. Serve when people are sipping and conversing, not thinking about the wine. 90 points.
Tudor Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2015: Typically new tight style of chardonnay. Fortunately, not too tight. All the right flavours are in the right places. A joy to drink, 93 points and outstanding value at $12.50.
AC Byrne Margaret River Chardonnay 2016: Light on the nose and light to start, it starts to show its character midway across the palate and finishes with classic chardonnay peach and cashew flavours. 93 points and worth $10.
South Point Estate SEA Rosé 2016: Very sound, neat savoury edge, 90 points, and a penny change out of a $5 note makes it very good value.
Vincent Gandia Sandara Sparkling Sangria: From Spain, this has a wonderful nose of herbs and spice and great balance across the palate. It’s sweet but not sticky, a combination that works very well. I can see this getting quite a following. 92 points and value at $6.99.
Blackstone Paddock ‘Limited Release’ Margaret River Chardonnay 2015: Beautiful quality chardonnay nose. Enjoy lingering over it. Lots going on as it strides with purpose across the palate. It’s a wine that makes the drinker take notice. 94 points and great value at $18.
Vinatero Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015: Rich cherry was my first impression, but that moved aside to allow some feral aspects in. Not a lot, but enough to make me smile. An elegant journey and a long, pleasurable finish. Drink cool. 94 points and great value at $15.
Tudor Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2015: If you’re just getting into pinot noir this wine is a great place to star. It’s got good fruit all along its journey, with just a hint of the savoury PN character. It’s an easy entry to the complex world of PN, and a damn good drink. 93 points and value at $12.99.
Blackstone Paddock ‘The Player’ Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015: Full Barossa style, rich and opulent, but not to the extent that it can’t be enjoyed to the end. That is, it’s not limited to one small glass of wine because it’s hard to get through a second. I did have a second, maybe even a third. 94 points and value at $13.