Here's one thing the discounters aren't winning at. Aldi may just have launched its own range of fine wines, but this Christmas we'll be raising a toast to Marks & Spencer, which has just netted 73 medals at the International Wine Challenge (IWC).
The supermarket won five gold medals, 21 silvers and 47 bronzes for its booze. Among gold-medal winning wines were its 2013 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico - which, at £8, is a bargain to boot - as well as its 2009 Chateau de Camboureau Savennières, which is a bit pricier.
Tesco came next in the medals table, with four golds, eight silvers and 20 bronzes. The judges praised its Finest Amontillado NV, which at £6 was the cheapest gold medal winner, and its Sancerre 2013, a little pricier at £12.79.
Meanwhile, although discounter Aldi is giving supermarkets a run for their money when it comes to market share, it didn't represent much of a threat down the alcohol aisle. The supermarket scooped just one gold, one silver and a mere eight bronzes. Pah.
Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the IWC, was complimentary about supermarkets' bargain booze.
We have discovered some outstanding supermarket own-brand wines during this first tranche of the competition, which would definitely bring a touch of elegance to any Christmas table. All the major supermarkets performed very well. They have very good buying teams. It’s hard work, and Britain is lucky to have supermarket buyers who can source great wines across the entire range and to suit any budget.
Which supermarket plonk topped the judges' lists? Here are the gold medal winners:
- Aldi The Exquisite Collection Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (RRP £7.99)
- Marks & Spencer Chateau de Chamboureau Savennières 2009 (RRP £16)
- Marks & Spencer Stepp Riesling *S*, Kallstadter Saumagen 2013 (RRP £15)
- Marks & Spencer Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2013 (RRP £8)
- Marks & Spencer Royal Palace Colheita Single Harvest Port 2001 (RRP £25)
- Marks & Spencer Fernando di Castilla “Don Fernando Oloroso” NV (RRP £15)
- Morrisons Signature Chablis 1er Cru 2012 (RRP £14.99)
- Morrisons Signature Grüner Veltliner 2013 (£6.99)
- Morrisons Amontillado Sherry NV (RRP £6.99)
- Tesco finest* Amontillado NV (RRP £6)
- Tesco finest* Dessert Semillon 2009 (RRP £6.79)
- Tesco finest* Sancerre 2013 (RRP £12.79)
- Tesco finest* Vintage Grand Cru Champagne 2007 (RRP £24.99)