A few years ago, before I went all fancy and did a wine course, my go-to white was this Aldi New Zealand Pinot Gris from Freeman’s Bay. I recall it being a minor epiphany when I discovered it. Prior to this I’d been drinking a lot of Pinot Grigio — which is the same grape variety, just named in Italian rather than French. However, like most siblings, these two Pinots have very different characters.
Pinot Grigio is easy-drinking, light, inoffensive — some might say… a little boring. Pinot Gris (which often comes from Alsace, New Zealand or Oregon) is also light and easy-drinking, but I’ve always found it to be more interesting, complex and intense on the nose than its Italian counterpart.
For a while I was a bit addicted to Aldi Pinot Gris — it just had much more “French” sophistication than the Taste the Difference Soaves and Frascatis I’d been used to.
Eventually, however, I developed a crush on Burgundy, and veered off in the direction of the more expensive wine shop up the road. But last weekend I revisited my old friend from Freemason Bay to see if time had diminished its appeal.
To my surprise, it hadn’t; those strong aromas of pear, stone fruit and wild flowers still got my mouth watering. True, there’s not a huge amount of flavour on the palate, but beware: this is a dangerously drinkable wine, which seems to be capable of creating a rip in the spacetime continuum. One second you’re unscrewing the lid; the next you’re shaking out the last drop.
To me, it feels closer to a Burgundy or Viognier than a Pinot Grigio — at least compared to the inexpensive, mass-produced Grigios you find everywhere.
So, I’ve decided to crown it the UK’s best-value supermarket white wine. I’ve tried a lot of supermarket whites down the years, and none can match this for value at £6. That’s why I’m awarding it a maximum score of…