Aldi has gained a fantastic reputation for selling high-quality wines at incredibly low prices. These budget offerings are so good that they consistently win awards at prestigious international wine competitions including the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Aldi manages to stock award-winning wines at such low prices by investing heavily in private labels. Over 90% of Aldi U.S.'s wines are private label and while the brand works with a great number of American producers, international relationships also form part of its portfolio. Joan Kavanaugh, VP of national buying for Aldi U.S., highlighted this in an interview with Winsight Grocery Business: "We have close relationships with suppliers and more than 50 wineries all around the world, from Napa Valley to Tuscany, who we work with to curate our top-quality varietals at the lowest possible prices."
Aldi's dedication to stocking an excellent range of international wine is well illustrated at the moment. The brand's new Specially Selected Wine Collection boasts offerings from Canada, Australia, and Spain. Aldi also sources wine from eight other countries resulting in a broad range of premium-quality wines being offered in store.
The United States Of America
In the United States, Aldi's wine department is dominated by products from American wineries. This should come as no surprise; Aldi prioritizes cost and the shorter haulage distances associated with American wineries greatly reduce it. What's more, many American consumers prefer to buy American products making stocking American wines a no-brainer.
Several of the American red wines stocked by Aldi come from California's famed Napa Valley. This is the case for 30 Miles Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that received a silver rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute. Also from Napa Valley and receiving a silver rating was the Specially Selected Cabernet Sauvignon. That these cabernet sauvignons were highly rated is not surprising; the grape has a long history in Napa Valley and the resulting wines have developed a hugely impressive reputation over this time.
Aldi also stocks an impressive Reserve Pinot Noir that's produced in California. There are, however, several Aldi red wines that are produced outside of the state. Most notable is 3REIN Red Blend, an exceptional wine from Washington.
In terms of white wine, Aldi's American offering is dominated by California with every single bottle coming from within the state. The products on offer include pinot grigio, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc. The most highly regarded is Elementalist, a pinot grigio that won Aldi's Best New Product Award in 2021.
Three American sparkling wines are stocked by Aldi. Each of these is sold under the Burlwood Cellars label and originates in California.
As one of the world's most respected wine producing countries, it is only natural that Aldi stocks an array of Italian wine. These products span red wine, white wine, and sparkling wine. Of the latter, Aldi stocks two versions, both Prosecco: Belletti Prosecco and Specially Selected Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG. DOCG designates Prosecco of the highest quality marking the Specially Selected product as a brilliant addition to Aldi's international wine offering.
Italy is also celebrated for its white wine, especially Pinot Grigio. Aldi's stock reflects this through four different Italian pinot grigios. All of these are produced in the northeast of the country. Two products, Essenza di Vita Pinot Grigio and Giretto Pinot Grigio are from Delle Venezie, a wine region that is known for producing excellently crisp pinot grigio.
Aldi's Specially Selected Alto Adige Pinot Grigio is another white wine that should not be ignored. The Alpine conditions in this appellation make this famously light wine even lighter. A crisp bite and flavor of walnuts result in a particularly arresting flavor profile.
The only Italian red wine currently stocked by Aldi U.S. is Adventure Series Chianti. This is a cheap product, often retailing for around $6. The wine itself is a steal for this price, demonstrating a medium body and classic, red berry flavors.
Aldi only stocks two French wines in its American stores and neither of these is red or white. Instead, both products are rosés produced in the Côtes de Provence appellation in south-eastern France. Rosés produced in this area are known for being both fruity and floral with the flavor of red fruits dominating. The acidity keeps the wine crisp and ensures it is perfectly suited for drinking on warm days.
Although they come from the same appellation, the two products stocked by Aldi do differ from one another. The most obvious distinction between the two is in the color. The Specially Selected Mid Cotes De Provence Rosé is much lighter than the Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé. This suggests that the Specially Selected rosé has undergone a slightly shorter maceration period which in turn results in lighter flavors, like redcurrant, being dominant. On the other hand, the longer maceration period employed by the Exquisite Collection wine gives it a much more aromatic bouquet.
In terms of critical reception, the Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé is the preferred wine. It has received a silver rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute and was also a finalist in the Best Alcohol Drink category at the 2021 World Beverage Innovations Awards. That being said, both products are great French rosés that, at this price, are difficult to beat.
Aldi only stocks one Canadian wine but it is probably the most unique product in the entire store. Specially Selected Icewine Vidal is a dessert wine made by harvesting and pressing Vidal grapes while they are frozen. These grapes sit on branches during fall and the beginning of winter, becoming progressively more dehydrated. This, when combined with the processing method, results in wines that are incredibly sweet. Icewine is also known to carry the flavor of stone fruits.
The grapes must stay on the tree for prolonged periods of time as a sustained freeze is needed for harvesting to take place. This was explained to Forbes by Matt Cassavaugh, an icewine maker: "Harvest can only occur when there is a sustained freeze. Temperatures must dip below 17 degrees Fahrenheit and remain under that threshold for around 6 hours because the grapes must be picked and pressed at those freezing temperatures." Waiting for a sustained freeze increases the grape's chance of spoiling. As a result, only between 10-20% of grapes that grow during the season are actually harvested and turned into icewine.
For this reason, icewine is typically expensive. This makes it all the more impressive that Aldi is offering its Specially Selected Icewine Vidal for $14.99. Rest assured, however, that this product is no cheap imitation. Specially Selected Icewine Vidal is made in Ontario and boasts all of icewine's traditional characteristics including a slightly syrupy texture. The wine is suited to aging and becomes slightly more subtle with time.
Red wine in Argentina is almost synonymous with malbec, the country's most planted grape. This is for good reason, Argentinian malbecs are very fruit dominant with a rich texture that makes them incredibly luxurious to drink and, as a result, globally popular.
It is commonly accepted that the best Argentinian malbecs come from Mendoza, a high-altitude wine region that's located on the edge of the Andes. The altitude slows down the ripening process giving the grapes more time to develop a degree of acidity. This prevents the wine from becoming overly sweet.
All three of Aldi's Argentinian wines are malbecs produced in Mendoza. Of the three, Evanta Malbec is the most highly rated, receiving a gold rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute. Aldi's Exquisite Collection Malbec is not far behind having received a silver rating from both the Beverage Tasting Institute and the Sommeliers Choice Awards. Last, but definitely not least, is the Specially Selected Uco Valley Malbec. As the name suggests, this wine comes from Mendoza's Uco Valley, one of the best wine-producing regions in the entire country.
Malbecs produced in the Uco Valley are known for having a distinctly floral aroma as well as an excellent balance between sweetness and acidity. The Specially Selected Uco Valley Malbec was only introduced to stores in September accounting for the lack of formal reviews. Given where the wine is produced, however, we would suggest that this wine is one you'll definitely want to try for yourself.
German riesling, a white wine, has endured something of an image problem ever since the brand Blue Nun produced a wildly popular -- albeit uncomplicated -- version of riesling in the latter half of the 20th century. Since this time, German rieslings have been in equal parts overlooked and dismissed. This makes it all the more interesting that Aldi has consistently stocked Landshut Riesling, a classic take on the wine from Mosel, Germany. The wine is well thought of; its balance and abundance of stone fruit flavors saw it awarded a silver rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute.
Landshut Riesling is not the extent of German wines available at Aldi. In fact, the grocery store chain stocks two further German wines, the Petit Chocolat Wine Specialty and Winterliebe Glühwein. The former is an interesting blend of red wine with chocolate flavor and cream, creating a product that resembles liqueur. Customers are warned that this wine is very sweet.
Aldi's other German offering is Winterliebe Glühwein. The history of German glühwein stretches back over 600 years and, as with these old iterations, Aldi's glühwein is infused with spices like cinnamon and cloves, This wine is well-suited to festive celebrations.
Aldi stocks two wines from Chile, Dancing Flame Red Blend and Foster & Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon. The former is made from a blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon, 20% carménère, and 10% syrah. The result is an approachable wine that boasts the flavor of dark fruits and a nice degree of spice. A previous vintage received a silver rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute further underlining its quality.
Much like Argentinian malbec, Chilean cabernet sauvignon is a much different wine when compared to traditional French versions. These differences were highlighted to VinePair by sommelier Jonathan Charnay: "Compared to Bordeaux, Chilean Cabernets have a fuller body and softer tannins, which makes them more approachable in their youth. There are also spicier notes on the palate, making Chilean Cabernet more exotic." Unfortunately, Aldi's Foster & Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon fails to express some of these characteristics. Reviews generally describe the wine as being watery with an unusual taste. A disappointing shortcoming for a company that usually stocks excellent wine.
Aldi has made a practice of stocking wine made with a particular country's most popular grape. In keeping with this tradition, Aldi only offers two New Zealand wines, both of which are sauvignon blanc. New Zealand's most produced wine is known for being herbaceous and acidic, however the flavor profile is famously changeable depending on where the grapes are grown.
Specially Selected Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Sunshine Bay Sauvignon Blanc are both produced in Marlborough, a wine region that accounts for nearly three-quarters of the entire nation's sauvignon blanc production. Here, the wine remains crisp and vibrant thanks to cool nights and dry days.
Despite being from the same region, these two wines demonstrate a large difference in flavor. Sunshine Bay Sauvignon Blanc has a noted tropicality with passionfruit often being used as a flavor descriptor. This sweetness makes it the slightly more approachable wine of the two. On the other hand, Specially Selected Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc's dominant flavor is undoubtedly citrus although high acidity levels are also noticeable. Both are good expressions of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, but only Sunshine Bay Sauvignon Blanc has been awarded a gold rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute.
Rioja is one of Spain's most celebrated wines thanks to its long history and distinct taste. There are many different styles of Rioja wine. Many of these depend on how long the wine has been aged.
Rioja Reserva is a wine that has been aged for a minimum of three years, with at least one of these years being spent in wooden casks. This makes Reserva younger and more approachable than the complex grand Reserva Rioja wines and more nuanced than the young and fruity crianza Rioja wines. For this reason, Rioja Reserva is seen as one of the region's best wines.
Aldi's Specially Selected Rioja Reserva is the only Rioja stocked by the chain. It is a great expression of the wine style with the fruity flavor being imbued with many oaky characteristics. Retailing around $8.99 this product is a fantastic way for wine lovers to enjoy a typical Rioja and experience the nuances of aged wine without breaking the bank.
Specially Selected Rioja Reserva is part of Aldi's recent seasonal release meaning those interested should make an effort to purchase it sooner rather than later lest it disappear from stores. Some early reviews suggest that the wine itself need not be drunk for a while; it has the potential to age well.
Aldi's only other Spanish wine is Sangriana Sangria, a 1.5-liter bottle of red sangria that contains the sweet and fruity flavors associated with the cocktail. This pre-mixed drink is a simple but effective version of sangria.
Few wines in the world are as bold and flavorful as Shiraz from the Barossa Valley. This prestigious wine region located in the south of Australia is the perfect place for Shiraz -- otherwise known as Syrah -- to thrive with warm summers and wet winters. These conditions result in a wine that's typically high in alcohol with strong flavors of dark fruits, black pepper, spice, and a distinctly meaty note.
Aldi's Specially Selected Barossa Valley Shiraz is a fantastic example of what Barossa Valley Shiraz offers. It expresses all the aforementioned flavors without becoming overwhelmingly sweet or crowded. Furthermore, its dryness transforms the powerful wine into a nice sipper. At 14.5% ABV the wine lives up to its strong reputation.
Incredibly, this wine retails under $10. With such desirable characteristics, Aldi's Specially Selected Barossa Valley Shiraz has the potential to be one of the best bargains in the entire store and is not a bottle to be left on the shelf.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.