John Wilson: Four great-value French wines from Aldi’s autumn-winter range

Wines for the Weekend: These two whites and two reds all come from Languedoc

Wines for the weekend: Aldi’s Limoux Chardonnay, Roussanne, Marselan and Fitou Réserve

Wines for the weekend: Aldi’s Limoux Chardonnay, Roussanne, Marselan and Fitou Réserve

 

Apparently, we like big, heavy bottles, as many of us associate them with superior wine. So producers, especially in Spain and North and South America, use them as a marketing tool. The problem is that they aren’t very environmentally friendly, as they use more glass than a normal bottle and are more costly to ship. Ideally, we should all be buying wine packaged in light glass or plastic, including the kind of of packaging used for bag-in-box wines, but that day is probably a long way off. So I was surprised to find quite a few heavy bottles among Aldi’s additions to its autumn-winter range. That aside, the line-up includes plenty of very well-priced wines, including this quartet from Languedoc, an area that produces plenty of good inexpensive wines.

Limoux Chardonnay 2020 Chassaux & Fils, €9.99
Limoux, up in the mountains above Carcassonne, is one of the cooler parts of Languedoc and a good source of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sparkling wine. This is a light, refreshing wine with green-apple fruits, subtle vanilla and a dry finish. It would go nicely with grilled or fried plaice; goujons with tartar sauce sounds good.

Roussanne 2020 Chassaux & Fils, €8.99
Roussanne is one of France’s lesser-known varieties, but it is a high-quality grape that is certainly worth trying. Originally found only in the Rhône Valley, it is now grown in Languedoc too. This is a very well-priced wine with tasty, succulent peach fruits and a lick of honey countered by a mouth-watering acidity. Try it with crab cakes or lightly spicy prawns with noodles.

Marselan 2020, Chassaux & Fils, IGP pays d’Oc, €8.99
Marselan is a recent crossing of two well-known grape varieties, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has good resistance to disease and tolerance of heat and is seen as useful in the fight against global warming. It is permitted in Bordeaux and the Rhône and is widely grown in China. Lightly fruity, with flavours of plums and black olives, and a spicy touch. Try it alongside pork dishes such as grilled chops with black olives.

Fitou Réserve 2019, Paul Jaurant, €7.99
Fitou is in fact two small regions in western Languedoc. Its wines are generally made from a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. The Aldi version is medium- to full-bodied, with blackberry fruits and a herby note, finishing with light tannins. Try this with red meats; a garlicky, herby roast shoulder of lamb would be perfect.

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