How does Aldi do it? Very few, if any retailers are as good at sourcing bargain wines from around the world. This is an ambitious Super Tuscan blend of Sangiovese with 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Alicante Bouschet from coastal Maremma. Rich, serious and dense, with classically savoury tannins, plum, raspberry and tobacco leaf flavours and a dusting of cinnamon sweetness.
Part of the generally impressive new Classics range from Marks & Spencer, this reminded me what cracking value Chianti can deliver under £10. Made by Cecchi, it’s Sangiovese based with 30% Colorino and a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon for extra backbone. Very lightly wooded – what do you expect for £8? – it’s bright, aromatic and savoury, with the classic Italian combination of racy acidity and some tannic grip and layers of red cherry and raspberry fruit. Refreshing and well balanced, it’s just the thing for early autumn drinking.
If you’re looking for an easy drinking pink to quaff over the next few weeks, this pale rosé made from “typical Tuscan varieties” is a snip at under £7 (as long as you buy five other bottles at Majestic). There’s a spicy, wild herb-like note to the raspberry fruit that’s backed up by a nip of tannin.
Chaintis from Rufina often have a slightly savoury, even rustic note to them, which distinguishes them from Classico styles. This great value example certainly has a little of that, but it’s offset by sweet red fruits. This is a fairly traditional style, combining Sangiovese with Canaiolo, with fairly sturdy tannins and a lift of volatile acidity. A pasta-bashing red.
Ex ex stands exceptional experiences, apparently, with this being the ninth release under this label. Aromatic, alcoholic and eucalyptus-perfumed, this is a revolutionary blend of Sangiovese and Nero d’Avola with bright acidity, medium tannins and good structure, with vanilla oak adding an extra layer of flavour.
An unoaked, modern meets traditional style Chianti Riserva from Piccini which blends a dash of Merlot with 95% Sangiovese. This is a medium weight, savoury red with good focus and acidity, some sweetness from the Merlot and fine, filigree tannins. A superior red to go with your bowl of pasta tonight.
When it’s good – and 2010 is a very classy vintage in Tuscany – Chianti Classico can still deliver a lot of flavour and complexity for less than £20. That’s certainly the case here, because I can’t remember a better basic wine from this estate. Its texture is almost Pinot Noir-like, but with a nip of tannin to add some extra backbone. On the palate, it’s silky and sweet with subtle oak and notes of dried tea, raspberry and wild strawberry. Essence of Sangiovese.
A really innovative blend (12% of it Sangiovese) from a comparatively new Adelaide Hills winery, this is a very smart, textured red with cherrystone and plumskin aromas, supple, yet savoury tannins, bramble and mint flavours and an Italianate dry flourish. One of the best Italian-influenced reds I’ve had from Down Under.
Paolo de Marchi is in the vanguard of Italy’s top rank producers with his switch to screwcaps. This, his top wine, is a stunning expression of Sangiovese, full of youthful, vibrant red cherry and damson skin fruit, with well integrated oak, medium tannins and bags of potential.
Always good to see an Italian wine with some bottle age on a supermarket shelf, especially when it’s as good as this Sangiovese-based Tuscan red. It’s made in a modernised traditional style, with lovely floral, tealeafy flavours, fresh acidity and savoury, complex tannins. Drink it with a good winter stew and it will taste even better.