Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Joanna Simon in The Sunday Times, October 5, 2008: Aldi and the supermarkets

If Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and his wife are now buying their wine as well as their groceries at Sainsbury’s, instead of getting Waitrose wines via Ocado, they will notice the change. Waitrose range vies with Marks & Spencer’s for quality, whereas Sainsbury’s seems to have lost its way.

Most of Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference wines are good, several are very good and across-the-board they are more consistent than Tesco’s Finest selection, but too many of the other wines are run-of-the-mill. In a world awash with new producers, why stick with tired old names? As for the 27 wines at under £4, shown at a recent tasting “to reflect the current financial climate”, I despair.

Perhaps the Cleggs would feel it was a step too far, but for cheap wine they would do better to go to the discounter Aldi (the nearest branch to Putney, Nick, is Old Kent Road). There are only 65 wines, compared with several hundred in the big supermarkets, and there’s nothing adventurous, but the quality-value ratio is impressive. Oh and, Nick, all the £4.99 wines will be £3.99 before Christmas; that should help.

2007 Vignes de St Pierre Sauvignon Blanc, £3.99
Crisp, bright sauvignon with juicy, grassy fruit (Aldi).

2003 Rioja Reserva, Ramon Lopez Murillo, £4.99
Soft and nutty with sweet red fruit and spicy oak (Aldi).

2007 Mâcon-Villages, Henri de Lorgères, £4.99
Nutty, fresh, delicately buttery and well-rounded (Aldi).