I love me a good bottle of wine. There is no better feeling than pouring a glass to unwind after a long day, pairing it with a tasty dinner dish, and it is the perfect complement to a girls? night in.
A vast variety of wines appeal to me, from a light and crisp sauvignon blanc to a rich and bold cabernet. As long as it isn?t sweet, I?ll probably drink it.
It depends on my mood, or if the wine is being paired with any food, but I typically tend to gravitate more towards the whites and ross.
I?ve taken even more of a liking to wine within the past two years and have been hooked on hunting for the best tasting bottles that won?t break the bank of a 23-year-old.
I am also a dedicated Aldi grocery shopper, and with their whole gimmick being that 90% of the wine they sell is $10 or less per bottle, I figured there had to be some hidden gems and I was determined to find them.
I purchased eight different bottles of wine: four reds, three whites, and a ros. I had not tried any of them previously.
Some were accompanied by a meal or appetizer, others were enjoyed by themselves on a Thursday night during one of my YouTube video binges.
Now listen, I?m no sommelier. I simply thought this would be a fun experiment to do for the sake of showing that good-tasting wine doesn?t have to be expensive.
Also, keep in mind that prices and selection vary by store and region, and the price listed for each wine does not include tax.
Now let?s start drinking.
1. Winking Owl Shiraz
Ah, good old Winking Owl, a brand that is exclusively sold at Aldi. Would this even be an appropriate wine review if it didn?t include at least one bottle of their wine?
I?ve tried my fair share of these babies. I enjoyed some, I poured others down the drain. It seems that most of the reviews of them are more critical than praising.
However, I discovered that their shiraz received the best reviews, and I was immediately intrigued.
For those who may be unaware, you can buy a bottle of Winking Owl wine with the spare change in your pocket. I paid $2.95 for this. That?s right. I?ll say right now, this was the most inexpensive wine on this list.
This shiraz had good dark fruit flavors consisting of black cherry, plum, and blackberry with notes of black pepper. It was medium-bodied with mellow tannins. It was on the dry side and paired very well with spicy Thai chicken lettuce wraps.
I thought it was easy to drink, and although it wasn?t my favorite that I tried, I must say I was pleasantly surprised. For less than $3, I?d say it was worth it. I typically don?t drink this style of wine, but now I?d be open to trying more in the future.
2. Giretto Pinot Grigio
I had heard great things about this wine and was very excited to try it. Pinot grigio is amazing patio weather wine, is one of my favorite varietals to drink, and, in my opinion, it?s the easiest white to drink on its own.
I?ll be honest, when I took that first sip, I was not amused. I thought it lacked flavor and had a watered-down consistency. Give this one a minute or two to open up, because I promise it gets better.
It was dry, light-bodied, and had crisp acidity, just as a northern Italy pinot grigio should. Flavors of pear and green apple are prevalent, along with lemon and lime notes.
It paired amazingly with chicken thighs in a garlic and mushroom cream sauce. Also, fun fact, it?s vegan!
It was somewhat difficult to choose a favorite white wine from this review, but this one brings home the gold. I thoroughly enjoyed its flavors and easy drinkability.
Additionally, it rings in at just $5.49 per bottle. This is definitely a wine I?ll be sipping by the pool once summer comes around.
3. Flirty Bird Sauvignon Blanc
There are few things that go together better than sauvignon blanc and goat cheese. I?m a big fan of this varietal. Sauvignon blancs have a notoriously earthy flavor that I feel people either love or hate. I personally love it.
I?ve seen Flirty Bird wines at Aldi for awhile now and finally decided to bring one home and try it. I had never tried a sauvignon blanc from Spain, which is where this wine hails from.
Right off the bat, this one had a strong initial aroma of melon which was lovely. The melon was prevalent in the taste too and was joined by other flavors of green apple and citrus and was finished off with grassy and earthy notes.
This wine was even drier, lighter-bodied, and more acidic than the pinot grigio mentioned above. It definitely isn?t my favorite sauvignon blanc, but for $3.99 I think it sufficed.
If you?re a fan of this style of wine, and are balling on a budget like myself, I?d say give this one a shot.
One more quick anecdote, just to put it into the perspective of other inexpensive wines, I thought this one was better tasting than Barefoot- and it?s cheaper, too!
4. Broken Clouds Pinot Noir
Pinot noir is my favorite red varietal. Like I said, I?m not an expert, but I do know that it is the most difficult grape to grow and maintain due to their thin skins.
For this reason, I definitely did want to be fair when choosing a pinot from Aldi. I went with this one, which was on the high end of the price spectrum- a whopping $12.99. It is the most expensive wine on this list, but still is not unreasonable.
This pinot originates from the Sonoma Coast of California. It had notable red fruit flavors such as raspberry, cherry, and cranberry along with notes of allspice and oak. It was dry, medium-bodied, had smooth tannins, and was on the acidic side.
Mushrooms and pinot noir go together like peanut butter and jelly, and this wine paired fantastically with a mushroom, thyme, and parmesan cream soup that I made. I thought it was an excellent value and would buy it again.
5. La Rue Ros
Who doesn?t love a good ros? I know that they are stereotypically meant for those warm summer months, but I drink it year-round. Now I can do that with this one for just $7.49 per bottle!
This ros is from the Ctes de Provence region in France. Now, this is not to be confused with the Exquisite Collection Ctes de Provence ros that was crowned the best value ros two years in a row for the International Wine Challenge?s Great Value Awards. I would?ve loved to try that one on this wine journey but it sadly flew off the shelves several months prior.
Nonetheless, this ros was still quite fantastic. It had aromas of strawberry, raspberry, and nectarine. There was a robust grapefruit taste which heavily contributed to the beautiful citrus acidity.
It was dry, medium-bodied, and very refreshing. It was more tart than I was expecting, but in a good way. I honestly can?t believe it was less than $8.
This is, without a doubt, a wine that I?d buy again in a heartbeat. If I was allowing myself to call a tie for a favorite, it would be between this one and the aforementioned pinot grigio.
6. Crestwood Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon
Moving on to another red- a cabernet from Washington state. This wine was the second most expensive one, ringing in at $9.99.
Throughout the course of this Aldi wine review, I had not been disappointed up until this point.
Now, I do like cabernets, but it is not a varietal that I drink on the regular. However, when I do drink them, I like them to be bold, rich, and juicy.
This wine was medium-bodied but not as full as I was hoping. It was also a bit too sweet for my taste. However, I did enjoy its dark fruit flavors which consisted of black cherry, plum, and blackberry with hints of mocha.
I shared this bottle with two of my friends as well and they were also unimpressed.
This was not the worst wine I?ve tasted, but it is the first one on this list that I would not buy again. If you?re a cabernet connoisseur, I?d advise you to spend your $10 elsewhere.
7. William Wright Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a wine I began to get into only about eight months ago. I tend to prefer lighter-bodied whites, but there really are some lovely chardonnays out there. I always think of my grandma whenever I drink it. She?s a chardonnay queen.
This one comes from Monterey County, California and was just $6.99. It was on the fuller-bodied side, had medium acidity, and had just the slightest hint of sweetness but was still rather dry.
I thought there was a strong pear aroma and taste and it was complemented with tropical fruit notes, mainly pineapple, and had a pleasant oaky finish.
This was definitely more of an oaky chardonnay than a buttery one, which is what I prefer.
A kale salad paired beautifully with this wine. If you?re a chardonnay fan, I?d recommend giving this one a try- especially since it?s just $7.
8. Burlwood Cellars Merlot
And, last but not least?just kidding. This wine was certainly my least favorite by far. Sorry we?re not ending on a high note here.
Honestly, I didn?t really have high hopes for this one to begin with. But hey, this experiment was all about trying new things, right?
This wine was medium-bodied and had mellow tannins, but what really turned me off was the sweetness. This was disappointing because merlots are not supposed to be sweet.
There were flavors of cherry, blackberry, and blueberry along with vanilla undertones. I shared this bottle with a friend and we paired it with a cranberry white cheddar cheese and crackers, which made it slightly easier to drink.
This wine was only $4.49, but for that price you could buy a latte at your favorite coffee shop.
By the time the shopping for this wine review came to an end, the Aldi employees no longer needed to check my ID since they?d gotten so used to seeing me.
I had such a great time tasting all of these wines and enjoyed learning new things about them in the process of doing so.
Just to recap, here is a list of my favorites in order along with their prices:
- Giretto Pinot Grigio- $5.49
- La Rue Ros- $7.49
- Broken Clouds Pinot Noir- $12.99
- William Wright Chardonnay- $6.99
- Flirty Bird Sauvignon Blanc- $3.99
- Winking Owl Shiraz- $2.95
- Crestwood Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon- $9.99
- Burlwood Cellars Merlot- $4.49
Eight bottles of wine for a grand total of $54.38? Pretty damn solid. That?s an average price of only $6.80 per bottle.
Have you tried any of these wines?
Thanks for reading!