Having pushed the boat out for the December tasting, at which members enjoyed wines ranging from Premier Cru Chablis to Twenty-year-old Tawny Port, January saw members of Upton’s Wine Club tighten their collective belts (and mix their metaphors) as we turned to research the more modestly priced wines of local budget supermarkets.
Eight wines were tasted, all priced at less than £10 a bottle and all selected from what was available on the day of my visit to our nearest Aldi and Lidl supermarkets. Both supermarkets are actively promoting their wines, a fair proportion of which have won awards. Indeed, a recent (wotwine?) survey concluded that Lidl and Aldi were the best supermarkets to buy wines that represented value for money. Would our members agree?
Lidl’s Franciacorta, essentially Brescia’s answer to Champagne, showed well but members thought it would face stiff competition from the many Spanish Cava available at a similar price. Aldi’s Clare Valley Riesling was broadly true to the expectations of the variety, with a hint of the lime that typifies Rieslings from this hilly district to the north of Adelaide, but lacked the extract of higher quality examples. Lidl’s Godello impressed, perhaps for the novelty of this lesser known grape, while Aldi’s Gavi won broad approval as a reliable staple. Three reds were shown, of which Aldi’s Barolo made an impression for being a tried and tested (DOCG) wood-aged wine typically associated with much higher prices. Lidl’s Monbazillac provided a sweet treat to round off the evening, perhaps lacking the admired botrytis character of the fine sweet wines of the region but enjoyable none-the-less and a fraction of the price of Sauternes.
We now look forward to February’s meeting, at which Derek Whitmell will lead us on an exploration of France’s Loire valley. If you’ve wondered about joining us, please do contact an existing member or anyone from the committee – you’re very welcome to try your first meeting as a guest, and the more the merrier. Or follow us online @UptonWine.
William Betts, Chair