The Aldi/Lidl showdown, a blind tasting of a selection of well-priced generic wines, took place last week in Birmingham and proved to be a very interesting exercise for several reasons.
It was surprising that there was so much curiosity from consumers – many people emailed to say this was a tasting they would have liked to attend but were unable to for whatever reason, something they don’t usually bother to do, and many more have emailed asking for the results.
The results listed below, like a tennis match won by a tie-break in each set, don’t give a true representation of the scores. It was 5 -2 to Lidl with the Barolo being a draw, but ‘proportional representation’ would have shown a much more even contest. Richard, BYWine’s very own Mr Lidl, also tasted blind and was quietly confident that Lidl would win but he was also impressed with some of the Aldi wines, too. In case you don’t know, Richard tastes all Lidl wines, scoring them out of 100 and his notes are used to promote their wines. You will see his photo, looking suspiciously Germanic, above the wines in-store and in this German TV ad
Champagne Veuve Monsigny Brut £9.99 v. Champagne Comte de Sennaval Brut £9.99
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Freeman’s Bay 2014 £5.89 v. New Zealand Sauvignon Cimarosa Marlborough 2013 £5.89
Mâcon Chardonnay 2013 £6.99 v. Mâcon Blanc Villages La Belle Blonde 2013 £7.49
Tempranillo – Toro Loco 2013 Utiel Requena 2013 £3.79 v. Tempranillo – Libertario La Mancha 2013 £3.79
Argentine Malbec Uco Valley 2013 £5.99 v. Argentine Malbec Mendoza 2014 £5.99
Rioja Reserva Baron Amarillo 2008 £5.99 v. Rioja Reserva Cepa Lebrel 2009 £5.99
Médoc Cru Bourgeois Château Chantemerle 2011 £9.99 v. Médoc Cru Bourgeois Château Lassus 2011 £7.99
Barolo Cantata 2010 £9.99 v. Barolo 2010 £9.99
Wine consumers are intrigued by what Lidl and Aldi are up to. And we Brits do so love a bargain which is what these stores offer. Or in fact do they? This is what consumers wanted to glean from this tasting – they know the wines are inexpensive but they were keen to discover if they are actually any good and therefore good value, or just downright cheap.
So, without a doubt the wines were all good value. There wasn’t a wine in the line up which would have left you feeling cheated based on how much you had spent. If you only want to pay £3.79 for your wine, well, you can from either store and the wine is palatable. There are, for example, better New Zealand Sauvignon’s on the market, of course, but few at the £5.89 price both stores sell theirs at.
Would I buy wines from these stores? Of course. And I do. If there is such a thing as everyday Champagne, the Veuve Monsigny at £11.99, often down to £9.99, is it, certainly on price at any rate. And on quality? I’d be more than happy to drink it everyday. It might get a bit boring and my wine of the night was, in fact, Château Chantemerle, a Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux, punching way above its £9.99 price. Richard’s wine of the tasting was the Barolo 2010, also £9.99.
Look out for Lidl’s one-off offers; Bywine members are notified the minute they become available as they don’t last long. And Aldi are launching a premium range which will be interesting to discover.
A little bonus on the night was to taste two wines which Richard had scored highly and which will be in the stores later in the year, both winners from our tasters point of view so don’t expect them to last long in Lidl stores in the West Midlands: a ripe, rich and juicy Dao from Portugal and a beautifully sweet. but not too sweet Cadillac from Bordeaux.
#Lidlsurprises actually a bit less as it is what we are now coming to expect and Aldi is definitely helping us spend a little and live a whole lot.