19 Feb 2011

A Trip to Aldi: Ramon Lopez Murillo Rioja Reserva 2005 (£5.99) and Finchley's Ales Golden Pale Ale

A trip to B&Q on a Saturday afternoon - who could resist calling into Aldi next-door and taking a look around its random selection of goods? Especially its alcohol section, with bizarre looking bottles of Grappa from holidays past and intriguing cans of 'premium lager'.

I came away with a bottle of Rioja, a bottle of Aldi's own Golden Pale Ale and a bottle of Wychcraft Blonde Beer. So all in all I was quite restrained. I've had the Wychcraft Blonde before, so I was more interested to try the wine and the pale ale.

I found the pale ale a bit of a strange one, with a bittersweet flavour and an aftertaste that I personally didn't enjoy. It actually reminds me of Desperados a bit, which isn't a brilliant thing for me - I realise Desperados has a bit of a cult following (it's a beer flavoured with tequila and other stuff like citric acid and sugar) but it's not one of my guilty pleasures. And I was expecting a pale ale, not an alcopop/beer hybrid.

But I've enjoyed the Rioja. I suppose £6 isn't the absolute cheapest of cheapsville - there were one or two bottles of red around the £3 mark in Aldi - but you still might not expect great things. But it's nice. Perhaps it helps that for some unknown reason I've not had a Rioja for a while, so maybe I'm more forgiving because I was ready for one. But there's a pleasant nose of cherries, plums and rosemary, with a thin twist of sweet cigar smoke. That's followed up by more cherries and herbs in the mouth, with a good acidity that keep things fresh. A decent and very easy drinking glass of wine. And a nice softness to it that you only get from an aged wine that's had the chance to grow into its own skin.

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