“Never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink,” he said. “Though I guess that presupposes that there is a wine I wouldn’t drink" – Lev Grossman.

Not content with being a thorn in the side of the major supermarket chains with their ‘nearly the same’ own label foods and their wonderfully eccentric central aisle of delights, Aldi have turned their attention to the world of fine wines.

If I’m right, though, there’s no need for independent merchants to bulk order the anti-depressants just yet. While it looks like an assault on their traditional market, I don't think Aldi have weaponised fine wines, rather I think they are going to lead a new generation of shoppers into them.

Aldi’s choice of everything, including their new fine wine range, is very restricted by shelf space, and their new selection – which I have to say has really floated my boat – is just enough to tease the type of clients who are the private merchant's bread and butter.

For many of their shoppers, this range will satisfy their every fine wine desire, but the independents only need a small percentage of them to want to go down the rabbit hole and a whole new generation of fine-wine-lovers will be created. That's what happened for me 30 years ago, although it was the local Co-op in my case – they used to get small parcels of such delights as Chateau Leoville Barton, and once my young desires had been set free there was no going back.

The next step was an Oz Clarke book followed by Berry Bros & Rudd brochures and my palate has been partying ever since. I therefore find myself in unusual territory with this column in making it all about one supermarket, something I never thought my free spirit would ever do. But fear not, fine wine merchants across the land, this one is really for you in a weirdly masochistic type of way.


  • Rioja Gran Reserva 2010: An old vine Gran Reserva with soft autumn fruits on the nose and a creamy expansive palate of fudge and toasted vanilla. I was sure they had missed a digit out on this, but if they are daft enough to sell it for that price, you should be savvy enough to buy it! Aldi, £9.99.
  • McPhersons, The Angus Merlot, Australia: Fruit juice and alcohol or the wine version of soft porn. Seriously folks if you don't like this, make a doctor's appointment. Richardson's of Whitehaven, £9.95.