Aldi, Dunnes and O’Briens: The best of their wine sales

John Wilson finds the best bottles from some of the supermarket and off-licence offers

John Wilson selects the best offers from Aldi, Dunnes and O’Briens. Photograph: RapidEye/iStock/Getty

John Wilson selects the best offers from Aldi, Dunnes and O’Briens. Photograph: RapidEye/iStock/Getty

 

ALDI

Aldi has been working hard to improve its wine range. These are my favourites from its Christmas line-up, which are set to be available from all 133 of its Irish stores.

November is Food Month in The Irish Times, with food-related articles in all our sections, plus reader events, competitions and exclusive content at irishtimes.com/foodmonth
November is Food Month in The Irish Times, with food-related articles in all our sections, plus reader events, competitions and exclusive content at irishtimes.com/foodmonth

Veuve Monsigny Celebration Champagne NV
12%, €22.99 (magnum €50) 
Aldi’s Cremant de Jura (€11.99) is one of the best-value fizzes, but if you fancy splashing out a bit, this is a very upmarket champagne, with crisp green apple, a touch of brioche and a decent finish. Very good value.

Castellori Soave Superiore Classico 2017
12.5%, €6.49
Decent light, fresh green-apple fruits with a dry finish. Perfect for parties and with lighter seafood dishes. Quite incredible at the price.

Limestone German Riesling 2017, Pfalz
12%, €8.99
Floral, with light, fresh crisp red-apple fruits and a touch of honey; fairly dry. As with the Soave above, great value for money. Party wine.

Lot Series Lot XI Australian Chardonnay 2017, Clare Valley & Margaret River
13%, €13.99
Google tells me that Clare Valley is more than 2,700km from Margaret River, so this is a unique cross-regional blend. The wine is pretty good: fresh, clean tropical and pear fruits, crisp, almost elegant. Decent value for money.

Redwood Hills Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018
13%, €9.99
I’m not a huge Marlborough Sauvignon fan, but this is a very reasonable, well-priced version. Lightly aromatic with lime zest, passion fruit and pears.

The Venturer Series Costières de Nîmes 2017
13.5%, €7.49
Decent medium-bodied red with inky dark fruits; very quaffable, and decent value.

Exquisite Collection Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2016
14%, €9.99 
Smooth, well-made ripasso. Not too sweet or extracted, with pleasant dark-cherry fruits.

Lot Series Tasmanian Pinot Noir 2017, Tasmania
13.5%, €13.99
Light, supple juicy raspberries and piquant redcurrants. You won’t mistake it for some of the more serious Tassie Pinots, but this is excellent value for money. With duck, game birds or tuna.

Barone Bruni Chianti Classico Riserva 2015
13.5%, €11.99
Soft, easy, ripe, sweet red-cherry fruits; easy-drinking wine to go with most red or white meats.

Exquisite Collection Amontillado Sherry
18%, €7.99 (500ml)
Sherry lovers should certainly not miss this, a delicious, piquant, concentrated dry sherry with plenty of toasted nuts, dark fruits and a lovely finish. Outstanding value for money.

DUNNES

These are my favourites from a recent Dunnes tasting.

Bastide Neuve Rosé 2017, Pays d’Oc
12.5%, €10.50
Not quite as good as Dunnes’s Château de Berne rosé (€16.50) but not as expensive, either. Light, refreshing, crisp rosé, with subtle red-cherry and redcurrant fruits. A nice party wine or with chicken or prawn green curry.

Levalet Marsanne Viognier 2017, Pays d’Oc
12.5%, €9.50
Clean and fresh, with plump, ripe peach fruits, some citrus, and a soft finish. Great value party wine or with nibbles. 

Rapaura Springs Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Marlborough
13%, €11.50
I have featured this wine before. It offers classic Marlborough Sauvignon flavours, with intense aromas of gooseberries and lychees, and ripe exotic fruits on the palate, cut through with fresh lime zest. Perfect party wine, or with herby seafood dishes.

Pulpo Albariño 2017, Rías Baixas
13.5%, €15
Fresh, lightly floral aromas, and very attractive zingy clean fruits; a lovely mix of lemon peel and peach. Perfect with shellfish, prawns, scallops or mussels.

Rapaura Springs Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough
13.5%, €17
A stylish, nicely  scented Pinot Noir with smooth, juicy, pure dark fruits. Light, with a rounded finish, this would go nicely with breast of duck, chicken, or tuna or salmon steaks.

Costero Pinot Noir Reserva 2017, Leyda Valley, Chile
13.5%, €12
Masses of vibrant, juicy red cherries, with hints of spice. Fresh and very moreish; great value for money.

Clos Malverne Reserve Pinotage 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa
14.5%, €14
Big, powerful wine with rich, rounded plum fruits underpinned by toasty notes of roast coffee. Some firm tannins on the finish. Try it alongside a barbecued steak.

Santa Rita Reserve Pinot Noir 2017, Maipo, Chile
13.5%, €8.99
Decent warm, slightly earthy, jammy Pinot Noir; warming dark cherries with a touch of undergrowth.

San Pedro 1860 Carmenere 2015, Maule, Chile
14.5%, €16
Rich, ripe dark fruits with plenty of spice.  Concentrated and long, with plenty of oomph. Pair with red meat, grilled or roasted.

Lombard Champagne NV, Grand Cru, Côtes de Blancs, Brut Nature
12.5%, €45
Made only with Chardonnay, this is a very superior, bone-dry champagne, with elegant, mineral green-apple fruits, a touch of brioche, and good length. Ideaily, you would lay it down for a year or two, but it’ll also be good now, with nibbles or fish dishes.

O’BRIENS

O’Briens has some nice wines, as usual, this season, some very keenly priced, others quirky and interesting. Its offers run throughout Christmas.

Júlia Florista Branco, Portugal, NV
€9.95, down to €7.95 for November and December
Decent, slightly sweetish plump fruits with good acidity. At €7.95, very good value.

Wildflower Pinot Grigio 2017, Romania
€13.95, down to €8.95 for November and December
Attractive, plump, ripe melon and green-apple fruits. Perfect party wine, or with lighter salads. At €8.95, a steal.

Il Forte Gavi 2017
€15.95, down to €11.95 for November and December
I’m not a Gavi fan, but this has all the classic Gavi slightly bitter quince and green apples, at a very competitive price.

Wildflower Pinot Noir 2017, Romania
€13.95, down to €8.95 for November and December
Light, with sweetish plum and red-cherry fruits and a tannin-free finish. You won’t mistake it for fine Burgundy, but this would make a great party wine.

Porta 6 2016, Portugal
€12.95, down to €9.95 for November and December
Understandably one of the most popular wines at O’Briens, this is an easy-drinker with a decent concentration of dark cherry fruits, a nice earthiness and just enough acidity to balance the ripeness. A great all-purpose wine, for wet-Wednesday dinners or large parties.

St Hallett Gamekeeper’s Grenache Shiraz Touriga 2015
€19.95, down to €14.95 for November and December
 Powerful, with rich, ripe red fruits and a touch of spice. At €14.95 a steal.

Croser Rosé Sparkling NV, Adelaide Hills, Australia
€24.95, down to €21.95 for November and December
A very classy pure Pinot Noir, with crisp strawberry and red-cherry fruits, and subtle brioche. Good concentration and length.

Granzamy Brut NV Champagne
€34.95, down to €29.95 for November and December
A Blanc  de Noirs, made from Pinot Meunier. Stylish, lightly creamy, with subtle red fruits. This has real character and a snappy dry finish.

Château Mauvesin Barton Moulis-en-Médoc 2014
€28.95, down to €24.95 for November and December
Classic, elegant claret with a lovely fragrant nose, and smooth blackcurrant fruits that glide across the palate, finishing dry.

Disznoko Furmint Late Harvest 2016, Hungary
€16.95 per half-bottle
Most at an O’Briens tasting were wowed by the Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2005 below. So was I, but it costs €60. This late-harvest Furmint at €16.95 is deliciously fragrant and fresh, with notes of orange peel and good acidity; sweet but never cloying.

Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2005
€60 (500ml)
If you have the money and enjoy sweet wines, this is an amazingly good Tokaji, with a huge intensity of grilled nuts, marzipan and orange peel, perfectly balanced by the acidity and excellent length.

Bethany Old Quarry Tawny, Australia
€24.95, down to €21.95 for November and December
This is very good, warming tawny port, with ripe raspberries, raisins and toasted nuts, plus a sprinkle of spice. Christmas in a glass, if it’s not too early. Great value for money, too.

John Wilson is author of Wilson on Wine 2019; you can buy it here

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