All the way back in May, before the summer launched and Instagram became flooded with Santorini’s azure waters, you may have seen the media abuzz with news of Aldi’s Côtes de Provence Rosé.
The supermarket chain’s blush wine, retailing at a mere £5.99, is not exactly the typical subject you might expect to find at the centre of such a plethora of stories, articles and reviews. Why the huge interest? Well for a mere six pounds you could be drinking one of the best wines in the world.
Yep, Aldi’s Côtes de Provence Rosé won a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge, which all the newspapers insisted on comparing to the Oscars of the wine industry.
And what reams was written in honour of its burst of ripe summer stone fruits and subtle quartzy spice, generous acid and crisp bright finish. But more than the flavour of the wine, it was the fact that Aldi’s rosé was three times cheaper than most of the other winners, that got our tongues all wagging. And of course it’s supermarket wine.
So many guides are written on how to navigate the supermarket wine shelves. Even more written on how to avoid those shelves all together. Now, apparently, that’s all to be forgotten. You can make a decent wine and still charge a pittance for it – the how is more of a mystery. After all how can even a huge supermarket afford to charge so little? From the grapes to the harvest, machinery and manpower, bottling and taxes, warehousing and shipping – how is £5.99 making a profit?
Aldi aren’t about the share their line costs with us, all we know for certain is smaller vineyards aren’t able to compete with the power of a huge company. But Aldi’s rosé winemaker isn’t completely unknown. It’s produced in Provence by Jules Wines – a company that make plenty of their own rosés, including one in the same bottle as Aldi’s.
Of course after so much press the now famous Côtes de Provence Rosé is sold out online and barely available in store. But there were a few rosé wines that actually won gold and are available, one from Château La Gordonne Vérité du Terroir Rosé, 2016, selling on Occado now for £14.99. It’s nine pounds more but maybe that’s the different between silver and gold.