The New World has established – and developed – some grape/country or area links that have become standards. This has not been the case in Europe as the grape variety often plays an anonymous role vis-a-vis the region. Hence, we know a New Zealand Sauvignon but do the public link Pouilly Fume with Sauvignon? The wine enthusiast might link Savannieres or Montlouis with Chenin Blanc but the ‘normal’ punter is more likely to know the style of South African Chenins. Well done to the New World. And this link is what makes it easier for the supermarkets to sell product. Hence Aldi’s Lot series.
We tried Aldi’s South African Chenin, made by Bellingham, which retails at £9.99.
The colour was a distinct lemon yellow with no hint of green, suggesting full ripeness and a warm climate. There was some citrus on the nose but the abiding impression was one of neutrality, with no particular significant varietal notes.
On the palate, there was a pleasing richness which went with the acidity, slight fruit sweetness which preceded an almond finish and a slightly hard edge. It was medium in length. It was a pleasant wine which maintained its dryness rather than a Loire Chenin, which can be fuller and slightly sweeter. We felt, at £9.99, it was a little over-priced but a well-made wine.
[Richard: some astute marketing by Aldi because once you’ve tried a few of the Lot series you want to try the rest. I rarely drink either chenin or South African wines so can’t offer any great insight. Geoff’s notes mirror my own. The wine was just as good on day 2 – a little more mellow as you might expect. Nice drink but something I won’t be repurchasing.
I also tried Lot 10 and Lot 06. The former is a Clare Valley Cabernet made by Taylors, not a maker I know. We don’t usually feature the back label but as I was trying the wine I was struck by the varied description of the aromas. Why? Because I couldn’t smell a thing apart from ‘generic red wine’. Add in a boring one-dimensional taste and you end up with the worst bottle in the series so far. And the phrase ‘wonder at its development through to 2022’ is misconceived ad-speak at its worst. I can’t see the wine going anywhere.
Lot 06 was much better, a priorat 2014 from Escaladel, 100% Garnacha. This is another region I rarely taste – the Wine Society don’t stock any, for example – but it was pretty good, especially on day 2 when the lively fruit had mellowed into something more savoury. Recommended if only to try something unusual.]