12 Sep 2012

A bargain cheap red wine – Aldi Côtes du Rhône 2011 at £3.65

Côtes du Rhône, £3.65 at Aldi
I think this is brilliant value at £3.65. Yes, if you can afford a tenner for your "house wine" then fair enough, but if like many people you don't have loads of cash and you want a decent red wine for glugging on the sofa, I think this is better than many bottles you'd get for five or six quid.

At this price I'd expect a wine to go one of two ways: too sweet and jammy if from the New World, or completely dilute and lacklustre if, as in this case, it came from the Old World. But this manages to avoid both – it's got nice red fruit flavours, it's balanced and it's easy drinking.

At this price it's obviously not going to be amazingly complex, but it's like one of those great value house red wines you'd be served in a carafe at a low-key French bistro. So it works a treat with an easy midweek meal – a ready meal maybe, a pizza, something else that takes minutes to make. It went nicely with pasta and pesto.

Maybe we should be concerned at how anyone can sell a wine this cheap. Who's losing out somewhere along the line? But then again, there are not necessarily any ethical guarantees if you splash out silly money either.

When you think of clothes I do cringe when I see Primark or Asda selling tops for, say, £3 – sweatshops come to mind – but then again expensive high fashion ain't necessarily ethical either. And perhaps there's a lot of corruption in expensive wine too – drinkers of fine wine will have to be sure their own bottles are super ethical before they criticise poorer shoppers who have less choice in what they buy. But you do wonder what the producers get from wine at this price.

Anyway purely from a bargain point of view this is a great buy. It also gets better after it's been open for a bit, so maybe try pouring it into a jug for the full Parisian bistro effect to get a bit of air to it, or just leave it in your glass for 10 minutes or so while your food's cooking.