‘Sale, good value, special offer, half price’. Do these words get your attention?

Would you rather:

  • Live in a land where it never gets light, yet own an everlasting cellar of the finest wines.
  • Have to run through woods and mountains chased by wolves to find your own dream ampule of which ever wine you desire.
  • Live a normal life, working hard to build a nice lifestyle and have enough left at the end of the week to open something a little bit special, which further widens your discovery of the world of wine.
  • Work hard all week, to find the government has siphoned off any extra change you may have and you resort to trawling the supermarket isles trying to find a wine with some hint of complexity at a reasonable price.

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I know which one I’d like, although I could play with option 1 if it was offered on a timeshare basis! It’s Friday, we’re all glad it’s the end of the week. Most of us, those reading this blog anyway will be contemplating which cork to pull this evening. Personally I think we deserve a better class of wine on a Friday night. We’ve worked hard, made it to the end of the week and should reap the rewards. Not all of us are lucky enough to have access to the world’s best wines, even so, it’s important to make sure we make the best of what we’ve got!  The choice narrows according to budget and can wither the imagination when faced with choosing from walls of discounted brands.

Yesterday I stopped off at Aldi to see what their ‘luxury’ wine range looked like. There wasn’t much ‘luxury’ around. I was faced with shelf talkers such as the one pictured below. Do you know that with duty now standing at over €3 per bottle before VAT that means that the only person getting paid here is the Revenue!! Can you imagine the kind of care and attention THAT winemaker gives to his wine, would you lovingly create something that you were paid next to nothing to create?

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I left the shop with a bottle of Chateuneuf du Pape bottled exclusively for Aldi. At home I opened up the bottle and our own Chateauneuf from Chante Cigale. Price difference €18.76! Appearance of both wines was similar. The nose on the Aldi version was confected and simple with sweeter fruits. The palates both displayed Grenache characteristics with a forest fruit ripeness. The Chante Cigale displayed much more age worthy tannins, more linear character and much better integrated alcohol. The other, was ‘hot’ from the 15% alcohol (the same as the Cigale, but not integrated at all), tasted extracted and lacked any finesse. Looking at the price comparison however the Aldi wine isn’t bad. But consider this:

  • For €13.99 you can buy some pretty special Cote du Rhones which offers more complexity
  • Chateauneuf du Pape is a wine to age. This wine would taste like sawdust in 3 years.
  • If you’re spending that sort of money, go off piste, don’t stick to well known appellations as unless you know the producer, the quality can vary hugely.

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Finally, a thought for the girls: Do you spend that little bit extra on your daily face cream to preserve you for the years ahead? Why is it different with wine? Fill your body with cheap inferior juice and your insides take the pain. Try trading up, go to a well known merchant or shop, get advice. Bet your head will be feeling a whole lot clearer in the morning!!

Enjoy the weekend and please do let us know if you do go off piste and try out something new and interesting in the name of ‘research’. Feel free to ask our advice, take photos, post them to our Facebook page, we can build up a little community of critics!

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