Wineontrial has continued to be impressed with Aldi’s ‘Exquisite Collection’. The Gavi, Shiraz and Chianti Classico have all been excellent value. So it was time for our first foray into the world of Riesling.
Let’s first deal with the misconeptions. Number one, it’s pronounced ‘Reez-ling’, not ‘Rye-zling’. Second, despite what the ghastly swathes of inspid, medium sweet Hock and Liebfraumlich might have made people think, Germany produces lots of outstanding wine. And Riesling is the undisputed king of its indigenous varieties, with a global fan base that considers it the greatest white wine grape bar none. Yes, bar none.
While those fans would probably tell you that the best Rieslings come from Germany, there is a host of countries with a proven track record for delicious wines from this variety. The most surprising is perhaps Australia, which we associate more with the heat-appreciating likes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The relatively cooler (typically higher altitude) spots tend to be chosen for Riesling, notably in the Eden Valley and Clare Valley. The produce of those grapes is known for being citrus dominant in youth, with the genuinely good ones developing into complex beauties after a few years’ cellaring, even if tasting notes like ‘petrol’ and ‘beeswax’ mean the breadth of their appeal is restricted.
But good Riesling comes at a price. Normally at least £10. So we thought we’d find out if Aldi had managed to bring that price down as low as £7 without a significant sacrifice in quality.
Not really. The usual punchy, juicy Riesling acidity, one of the things this variety’s fans love the most, is sadly missing. Australian Rieslings do sometimes go for a ‘softer’ style than their German rivals, but this one has gone too far. The flavours would just about make it recognisable in a blind tasting, even if the usual citrus strays into the territory of clementine rather than the more typical lime, but it lacks oomph and precision. The wine is drinkable, pleasant enough, but not exciting.
If you love Riesling, pay a bit more for something somewhere else. If you’re not a Riesling lover, but you do find yourself perusing the wine selection at Aldi, go for one of the others from their range. For whites, the Gavi is cheaper and better!