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Is Aldi or Lidl better value for your Christmas wine?
Just as UKIP has shaken up the political landscape so Aldi and Lidl have changed the face of retailing in the UK. You might not have considered buying your wine there before but you certainly should this Christmas.
Which is the better shop to go to? Each has its strengths and weaknesses. I’d say Aldi had the better offers across the board - I’ll be posting some of their best wines for everyday drinking in the next few days - but Lidl has some real highspots too. Be aware that both operate on a WIGIG (when it’s gone, it’s gone) basis so you might find some lines - e.g. the 30 y.o. tawny port - are already sold out.
Here’s my pick of what each has to offer.
ALDI Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura 2012 £7.29 ****
Aldi consistently sells one of the best value sparkling wines in the country. Surprisingly it comes from the obscure Jura region in the east of France but is an elegant bottle of bubbly that’s just as enjoyable as champagne.
LIDL Cava Gran Cuvée 11.5% **** £7.49
Cava gets overlooked these days but this delivers the goods in a great-looking bottle. Fresh, clean and drier than prosecco.
ALDI Leon Launois Grand Cru Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006 £22.99 *****
Champagne is the big battleground this Christmas and Aldi does of course have a budget line (the perfectly decent Veuve Monsigny at £11.99 ***) but if you feel like spoiling yourself this gorgeous blanc de blancs is a great price for a vintage fizz. Save it for seafood - maybe an Aldi lobster!
LIDL Champagne Grand Cru Brut £17.99 *****
Same message. Lidl’s basic Bissinger is decent but this is a significant step up. A really elegant, classy champagne - great for the price.
CHRISTMAS DAY WHITE
ALDI - Henri de Lorgère Macon Chardonnay 2013 £6.99 ****
A lovely creamy white burgundy that could pass for a much more expensive bottle. Would go with the Christmas turkey, if you prefer white to red. Better still with salmon or a festive fish pie.
LIDL - Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie 2012 12% £6.29 ****
You might not think Muscadet quite posh enough for the Christmas table but this good-looking bottle would be perfect with seafood or smoked salmon
CHRISTMAS DAY RED
LIDL - Gigondas, Calade des Eveques 13.5% £9.99 *****
I was tempted to pick the smooth, mellow Chateau Roylland Saint-Emilion Grand Cru **** 2008 but at £12.99 it’s a little more than you might want to spend especially at Lidl but this Gigondas - a Chateauneuf-du-Pape drinkalike - is a real bargain. Definitely one for the turkey.
ALDI - The Exquisite Collection Crozes Hermitage 2012 £8.99 12.5% *****
Aldi’s Exquisite Collection Gigondas, also at £9.99 is good too **** but this big, generous spicy Crozes Hermitage is even better, a pound cheaper and only 12.5%. Would go with turkey but better still with beef.
LIDL - Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh 2011 £7.99 *****
You may not be able to pronounce it (it’s pash-er-anc dew vic beel) but this tiny region of south-west France is one of the country’s hidden treasures. Locally they would drink it with foie gras but it’s also perfect with Christmas pudding.
ALDI - Selection Beerenauslese 11% £5.99 ****
From the best wine region in Austria for sweet wine, this lush beerenauslese is a fantastic buy. Delicious with a light fruity trifle or a festive pavlova. Or sip it with stollen
LIDL - 10 year old tawny £9.99 ****
A lovely rich nutty tawny - perfect for the Christmas cheeseboard. The best 10 y.o. tawny for the price I've tasted.
ALDI - Maynard’s 30 year old tawny port £29.99 ****
I’m not a big fan of Aldi’ Maynard’s ports as a rule but this deeply nutty 30 y.o. version is a bargain for a port of this age and would make a splendid present. Sip with dark chocolate and nuts. Or some aged parmesan.
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