ALDI’s buying director, Jason Bowyer, has the dream job. He works directly with winemakers to produce the best-value drops for customers. And boy are there some bargains to be had right now — every bottle in ALDI’s winter wines range is under $15. But that doesn’t mean any corners have been cut just because the price is cheap.
Bowyer presented the winter wines range at a media event this week and explained what went into each one in order to get the price so low. As a general rule, he says no to “clunky wines,” and that there is a trend towards styles like Grenache and lighter Shiraz. And, you’ll be please to know, he won’t judge you if you enjoy box wine.
Because we all hate waste, Bowyer also offered some tips on how to store an open bottle of wine. If you leave it on the kitchen bench away from heat it will last for a few days, but the colour may change slightly. Or you can pop opened red wine in the fridge and it will slow down the process a bit more. Or, if you’re brave and have several bottles of similar styles of wine leftover, you can pour them all into one bottle and put the cap back on and it can last for up to two weeks.
So here are Bowyer’s top picks for winter. He’s even gone and offered matching cheeses for each drop!
Small batch winemakers
Vinatero Old Vine Grenache 2020 – $10.99
Grenache is described as “poor man’s pinot noir” and was used in fortified wines in years gone by. This one used a mix of old and new styles of winemaking to serve up flavours of baked cherry and raspberry. You can even pop it in the fridge for summer, or cellar for 3-5 years. It’s also vegan.
Cheese: Germain Le Pico Cheese – $5.99
Eastern Laneway Vintners Grampians Shiraz 2020 – $11.99
This winemaker only produces up to 5000 cases a year overall, so this Shiraz for ALDI is sure to go quick. It’s handmade and uses wild yeast and foot plunging — a process Bowyer describes as “classy winemaking”. It’s also vegan, good for cutting through food, and can be cellared for 3-7 years.
Cheese: Emporium Selection Dutch Gouda Cheese – $3.99
Seppelt Hundredweight Hill Shiraz 2019 – $12.99
A label synonymous with famous winemakers, Bowyer praises this Seppelt Shiraz for its “aromatics and prettiness”, with an earthy smell to it. You can cellar this one for 10 years or more.
Cheese: Emporium Selection Double Cream Camembert – $4.49
Wolf Blass Exclusive Release Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 – $14.99
This is not your everyday wine that comes from a big tank, Bowyer explains, pointing out that each of the grape varieties and growing regions add different characters. See if you can pick up the white pepper spice in there. It can be cellared for 10-15 years.
Cheese: Emporium Selection Aged Cheddar – $3.99
Familiar family winemakers
Humo Blanco Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 – $11.99
This wine comes from Chile (every other wine in ALDI’s winter range is Australian), crafted by a family that also has wineries in Spain, France and Argentina. They really know how to make the most of each region’s unique traits.
Cheese: Emporium Selection Triple Cream Brie – $4.49
Taylors Estate Special Release Clare Valley Shiraz 2019 – $14.99
Most Australians will recognise the Taylors label. Bowyer says this Shiraz is everything you love in Taylors but a little bit different just for ALDI. And after a small 2019 vintage due to drought, he reckons this is the best vintage they’ve ever done.
Cheese: Vernieres Roquefort Cheese Wedge – $4.99
ALDI’s winter wines are in-store now, but only for a limited time. And they are expected to sell fast, so get in quick!