This month sees the opening of Aldi's 500th store in the UK. With 32 per cent growth, the German discounter has been a major beneficiary of the recession. Buying wine to a price and selling at a price is a delicate balancing act at this level and Aldi's wine buyer, Mike James, in my view gets it right. So let's cut to the chase.
If you're a fan of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, the 2013 Freeman's May New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, £5.69, is pungently herbal and elderfloral and the 2013 Exquisite Collection Limestone Coast Chardonnay, £5.99, opulently peachy with fresh pear notes. The pick of the crop is the new 2012 Exquisite Collection Limoux Chardonnay, £6.99, a belter of a Burgundian-style dry white with suitably nutty aftertaste from Jean-Claude Mas.
With a touch of merlot bringing suppleness to the bright primary fruit, the Vignobles Rousselet Malbec, £4.49, is a vivid blackberryish French malbec, just shaded by Argentina's opulent, succulently textured 2012 Exquisite Collection Uco Valley Malbec, £5.99.
Don't overlook the 2009 Exquisite Collection Chianti Classico Riserva, £8.99, which embodies the herb and sour cherry of Tuscany's sangiovese grape. The 2012 Exquisite Collection Gigondas, £9.99, is all deep-hued, spice and peppery, voluptuous, dark-berry fruits.
Some of the best festive wines appear on shelf on 3 and 24 November and I aim to return to the subject closer to the time. Meanwhile, let me remind anyone who hasn't experienced the delights of the crisp dry 2011 Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura, £6.99, or the toasty, creamy Champagne Veuve Monsigny, £12.99, that these are among the best-value fizzes on any high street.