Barry Weinman: 28th September 2018
Over the last few years, wines from Aldi have received a few good reviews in the media, especially overseas. Now that they are well established in Western Australia, I took the opportunity to taste their range of Tempranillos from Spain which, remarkably, included a pair of Reservas for under $10 a bottle.
To put the wines into perspective, I also included some of the more affordable examples from Vintage Cellars and Dan Murphy and a couple of more expensive wines for good measure. I gave the tasting panel no clue about the origins of the wines, to prevent any bias.
To my great surprise, there were several decent wines, all at bargain-basement prices.
Pablo & Pedro – Tempranillo – 2016 (16.5/20 pts. $9). Sweet fruit, with a dusty/savoury component. The palate is fairly light, with pleasant red berry notes. With no oak to speak of, the gentle cherry-like acidity and tannins add life. An easy-drinking pizza wine from Australia, that is popular at my local Vintage Cellars.
Marques de Riscal – Tempranillo – Proximo – Rioja – 2015 (16.9/20 pts. $9.40). A bit more body than some, with cherry, plum and spice over plum and dark berry fruit. The finish has refreshing acidity and tannins, with little in the way of oak. This is really quite good, and gets a little chewy to close. From Dan Murphy, this is a great drinking entry-level wine from this well-known producer. Now – 3 years.
Chalk Board – Tempranillo – Navara – 2014 (16.8/20 pts. $15). Good quality fruit and chewy, textural tannins here. The fruit is actually quite dense, and opens with air. The tannins are drying and are the main characteristic on the finish. Souring acidity makes a good foil for richer tomato-based pasta dishes. Navarra is in the Basque country in Northern Spain (Vintage Cellars exclusive label).
Baron Amarillo – Tempranillo – Riojo – Reserva – 2012 (17.5/20 pts. $10). A traditional style showing earthy, forest-floor characters over sweet, red berry fruit. This is quite ripe and seductive, with cedar and vanillin characters courtesy of the (American) oak. The palate is initially firm, but the fruit lingers admirably. Almost pinot-like, with masses of red berry fruit. Perhaps a bit rustic, but this is all part of the charm of this excellent value red. Spent 3 years in oak and is exclusive to Aldi.
El Toro Macho – Tempranillo – Utiel – Requena – Barrica – 2013 (17.5/20 pts. $7). Utiel – Requena is a wine district in the Valencia region of Spain. The fruit is more in the plum spectrum compared to the Amarillo. The palate is fresh and lithe, with fine tannins and souring acidity complementing the supple mouthfeel and decent fruit weight. Good length and an enjoyable drink on its own or with slow-roasted lamb shoulder. Brilliant value from Aldi.
Singlefile – Tempranillo – Run Free – 2017 (17.5/20 pts. $25). Clean and fresh, with pristine fruit on both the nose and palate. Bright, succulent, and fresh, with delicious cherry and plum fruit. Uncomplicated and great drinking.