Truly brilliant white wines under £9 – from Aldi to Waitrose

Cartoon of snobby cat rejecting wine
Wine doesn't have to be an expensive luxury - Franz Lang

Everyone I know has been spreadsheeting their monthly outgoings and searching for cuts. Pet insurance – can we actually cut the pet? Kids’ swimming lessons – won’t doggy-paddle keep them alive? Cleaner – there might be no more hours in the day (or night) to clean but perhaps we can live with a bit more dirt? In the spirit of affordable pleasure, then, this column is dedicated to under-£9 wines and, specifically, to under-£9 whites.

For practical reasons, a lot of these wines will be from Aldi. This is partly because many other supermarkets price wines high to allow them to be discounted for certain periods of the year, and details of those promotions seldom arrive with me in time to be included in this column. And it’s partly because new vintages and wines from other retailers have yet to land. More on those as and when.

Before we move on to Aldi, one truly brilliant and a couple of good wines from Waitrose (whose offers do arrive with me in time – you’ll need to shop quickly, though, because the current deals run out on Tuesday). Côtes de Duras Sauvignon Blanc 2021 (currently £5.99, for full details see Wines of the Week) is a bottle I might easily have passed over if I didn’t have the privilege of calling in samples to try on the off-chance. In many cases, you could expect an inexpensive white made for immediate drinking to have lost its freshness by the time it’s a couple of years old. Not this one; 2021 was a cooler year, which helps. Also, this crisp white has the classic flavours of a proper wine, rather than one that’s been pushed and pimped and exaggerated and softened and sweetened to appeal to a junk-food palate. It is an absolute joy and a steal, and the opened bottle even held up overnight in the fridge.

For those who prefer warmer and more fruity flavours in their white wines, there’s Swartland Private Collection Chenin Sauvignon 2023, South Africa (13.5%, Waitrose, £5.99 down from £8.99 until 7 May), which tastes of mango and reminds me of the old Body Shop Fuzzy Peach scent in a good way. Somewhere between those two wines is Markus Huber Grüner Veltliner 2022, Austria (12.5%, Waitrose, £8.99 down from £11.99 until 7 May), which has a very soft spritz and a faint saltiness, like Badoit, mingling with subtle stone-fruit flavours. I love this with fried chicken.

Baron Amarillo Rioja Blanco is a refreshing £5 alternative

And now to Aldi. Everyone loves a canny Aldi buy but, while there are usually good red, sparkling and rosé picks, the whites often fail to inspire. This season, it’s different. For a refreshing, aperitif-style white, try Baron Amarillo Rioja Blanco 2023, Spain (12.5%, Aldi, £4.99), which is made mostly from viura (aka macabeo) with a chunk of white grenache and 20 per cent other grapes. If you enjoy the lemony flavours of Greek assyrtiko, try Athlon Assyrtiko 2023, Greece (12%, Aldi, £8.99). These are gentle rather than bracing citrus flavours; the wine has 15 per cent chardonnay in the blend, which has a calming effect on the assyrtiko.

I also like Specially Selected Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2023, Australia (12%, Aldi, £8.99), for its preserved lemon and kiwi flavours. And if you’ve been priced out of entry-level white Burgundy, try the calm, well-made Specially Selected Le Bourgeron Chardonnay 2023, Pays d’Oc, France (13.5%, Aldi, £8.49). One to pour with cheese straws.

Try these...


Côtes de Duras Sauvignon Blanc 2021, France

11.5%, Waitrose, £5.99 down from £8.99 until 7 May
From a region between Bordeaux and Bergerac, a very classy sauvignon blanc, all cool citrus and grass.

The Society’s Australian Chardonnay 2023, Australia

13%, The Wine Society, £7.50
From viognier specialist Yalumba, this is a sleek, fresh, contemporary take on Australian chardonnay. I’m in.

Specially Selected Coteaux de Béziers Viognier Grenache 2023, France

13%, Aldi, £8.49
Two-thirds viognier, one-third white grenache, this has an uplifting floral perfume and a hint of white peach.