As I mentioned last month, I was very impressed with some of the wine I got from the Lidl near me. So to be fair to ‘the other’ discount supermarket chain, I am trying out some wines from Aldi this month. There is a store near me that I had not been to before as both Asda and Lidl are a bit nearer, but good to try it out. Tasting one Pinot Noir with Mary, and a Chianti (just me).
- Pierre Jaurant Pinot Noir
- Aldi £4.99 (on discount offer, normally £6.49
Aroma: Light not overpowering, slightly oaky, nice.
Taste: Light, with a red berry fruity freshness, maybe a little bit sweetMe
Aroma: Initially appealing, nice, light, and makes me want to taste it.
Taste: Light and smooth. Maybe not best with a heavy meat dish.Mary
Taste again: With a lamb and mushroom casserole, cooked in Caribbean spices:
Although the wine was quite light, there was still a slight spiciness to it that went well with the spiced lamb.Both
I had to go back to Aldi to buy the wine again, as I lost the receipt and needed to know the price. Tasting again I really do like this wine, and will buy again, especially when on special offer.
Before the wine review, I wanted to learn a little bit about this wine. I am sure that I am not the only one who, when hears the name ‘Chianti’, instinctively thinks of the scene in Silence of the Lambs, where Anthony Hopkins says ‘Chianti’ with a hissing sound when describing how he enjoyed it to accompany his cannibalism. Not a pleasant image to go with the wine. Maybe subconsciously this is why I have not tried it before. But probably the main reason is that it is an Italian wine, and until the pandemic the wine that I bought in Boulogne was always French.
The wine is a red wine from a central Tuscany region in Italy, made primarily from the Sangiovese grape. Some good basic information here from the Wine Folly website.
So looking through one of my wine books, in case Victoria Moore’s ‘The Wine Dine Dictionary’ for more information. She refers to a ‘rustic Chianti’ as one of the ‘dirty reds’ and recommends these with aubergine parmigiana (aubergine with parmesan and ricotta cheese). She also suggests a ‘top-notch Chianti’ to accompany a rib-eye steak. Is this wine from Aldi a ‘dirty red rustic Chianti’ or a ‘top-notch Chianti’. Only one way to find out, taste it.
- Castellore Chianti 2020
- £4.49 from Aldi
Aroma: A good, rich and strong aroma but not overpowering. Maybe a tiny bit vinegary.
Taste: Quite smooth taste but with a strong spicy chewy kick. A bit acidic, but not too much.Me
Look at the labels
This is something that I have not done much before. When I was buying in France, I would not look in detail at labels as the information was all in French (I will start doing so when I next go, as it will help me learning French.)
I did notice that there was a lighter taste to the Pinot Noir compared to the Chianti. However I could have figured this out just by reading the label. Different supermarkets have slightly different information on and I am impressed with Aldi’s labels. Look again at the information at the top of the back label of both of these wines.
I only looked at these labels in more detail after writing review notes. But I was pleased that I too noticed the more ‘red berry’ and softer, fruitier flavours of the Pinot Noir. They also have a scaling of Light Bodied to Full bodied, and this was a B, slightly nearer to light bodied. You can also tell it is lighter bodied because the alcohol percentage is 12.5%. It was a total coincidence that I had this with a lamb dish, but it did seem to compliment that meal well.
The Chianti, on the ‘bodied’ scale was a D, nearer to full bodied (although Wine Folly describes Chianti as me. It was a stronger wine, but only marginally at 13%. It just goes to show that every half a percent can make a big difference. (Think back to my post from September that covered both Pinot Noir and alcohol percentages. I will agree with the sommeliers who avoid anything over 13.5%.).
And as with the Pinot Noir, I also noticed the more full bodied flavour of the Chianti wine before looking at the label, and that it had a ‘spicier’ flavour too. So I think that I am gradually getting better at tasting
Looking at the food pairing suggestions on the label made me want to look again at some of the resources that I have been looking at for food pairing. Firstly looking again at Victoria Moore’s ‘The Wine Dine Dictionary’. The book is divided into two main sections, the first lists foods, and then suggests wines to accompany them. The second section lists wines with suggested food servings. (Read more about The Wine Dictionary here). And then looking at the Wine Folly website, that has pages for each type of wine.
In The Wine Dine Dictionary, there is no section for Chianti in the wine to food section, but references in the index to the food to wine section. Interesting that for lamb, when cooked with rosemary and garlic, Victoria Moore recommends a Chianti (and not a Pinot Noir), as well as other central Italian wines. Lamb is a meat dish, (but not as meaty as beef).
For Chianti, Wine Folly also suggests pizza or tomato based pasta dishes to go with Chianti. So they were in agreement with the label. (I think that neither for a heavy meaty dish is a fair conclusion).
For Pinot Noir, Victoria does mention roast beef as a good meal. Yes, I can see this, roast beef is not too heavy a meat dish. But Victoria then says, “it is the ultimate wine for duck – nothing goes with duck quite like a pinot noir.” This I can see, it is a lighter meat dish, not unlike the lamb with mild Caribbean spices that we had. For Pinot Noir, Wine Folly also recommends duck, as well as chicken, pork and mushrooms.
As with Lidl, I am impressed with quality and value for money from buying wines at Aldi.
I have bought a bottle of this Pinot Noir at Aldi again (I needed to check prices) and will buy again, especially when on special offer.
For the Chianti, I am still not sure if it is a ‘dirty red rustic Chianti’ or a ‘top-notch’ one. At the price of £4.49, probably not a top-notch one. Still a good wine at the price and will purchase again when next at Aldi.
And I really like the information on the bottle labels that give really useful information about the wines. Although for good advice about wine pairing with food, I would look at other sources of information. I found both the pages on the Wine Folly website for specific wines, and Victoria Moore’s ‘The Wine Dine Dictionary’ very useful resources.