According to Aldi, this Painted Dog chenin blanc/viognier blend “perfectly captures the character of South Africa’s most endangered large mammals”. So it smells like a sweaty hyena? Luckily not.
I confess I’m not much of an authority on chenin blanc, and I’ve never had this blend before. But its aromas of citrus, peach and the sea came as a pleasant surprise. It’s dry and creamy, presumably from malolactic fermentation — the process of acid conversion that gives some chardonnays their milky taste. It smells like it’s spent time on the lees too, judging by its yeasty, doughy smell — again, similar to that found in some chardonnays, as well as Champagne.
In fact, on a blind smell test I’d have said this was a chardonnay. I’d have been quite sure of myself, too. But… it doesn’t taste like one. The chenin blanc gives it a subtle citrusy sweetness, while the viognier provides body, spicy aromatics and even a touch of violet.
And a big boon for animal lovers is that 5% of your cash goes to the Tusk Trust for wildlife conservation when you buy it. I gave it half a star extra for that. But then I had to knock it off again the next day because I woke up feeling like I’d been two rounds with a rhino. Who says organic wine doesn’t hang you over? Those painted dogs bite, you know.
Aldi Painted Dog organic chenin blanc/viognier blend, 2017: £7. Screw cap. 14% vol.
3.5 NINJA STARS
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