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Aldi Wines

When I first started this website a lot of people commented that I must love Trader Joe’s because of all the bargains they have on wine.  And as much as I wanted to love Trader Joe’s, I just never became a big fan.  Most of the wines I tasted from them were nothing special, albeit they were dirt cheap — which is something I always love.  Plus there’s something about the folks working there that just seems inauthentic to me… they’re way too happy and remind me of flair-clad servers at TGI Fridays.

Anyway, while it seems like everyone I meet associates Trader Joe’s with dirt cheap wine, they are not the only one in that game.  The folks from Aldi sent a few of their wines our way to taste and I’d say they’re giving TJ’s some competition.  I’ve never been an Aldi shopper, so I had no idea they were carrying wines and I was a little surprised when they showed up.

I’ll admit that I was a little bit skeptical at first.  But as I looked them over, I saw a few things that were both intriguing and reassuring.  First, I was surprised to see the regions on the wines, Chianti, Napa Valley and Mosel.  Then I was reassured when I checked the alcohol levels and found them to be appropriate for the styles.  Sometimes I’ve found that really cheap wine will have an alcohol level that’s lower than normal, resulting in thin, bland wine, but that wasn’t the case here.  I also liked the backside of the labels, which has helpful graphics for folks who don’t know their wine well yet.

Now I will say that none of these wines absolutely blew me away, but none of them were bad either.  And for the dirt cheap prices, they are some bargains!

Gonfalone Chianti

Gonfalone Chianti 2009

I’m a big fan of Chianti, but if I have a choice I’m usually going to select a Chianti Classico versus a Chianti.  I expect that a lot of wine consumers aren’t clear on the differences between Chianti and Chianti Classico and that’s an unfortunate circumstance of the names being so similar.  And I could confuse you even more by going into the other sub-types of Chianti.  But basic difference between Chianti and Chianti Classico is the region of production.  While Chianti comes from a rather broad region in Tuscany, Chianti Classico comes from a more limited region, selected for the quality of its grapes.  There are some other differences too, but I’ll leave it at that for now.  And while I tend to prefer Chianti Classico, I was pleasantly surprised by this Chianti from Gonfalone.

The nose on this wine is nice.  It shows well balanced raspberry, nutmeg, strawberry and perfume aromas with moderate intensity.  The palate is dry and offers plenty of ripe fruit flavors, like raspberry, plum and sour cherry, plus a little bit of spice.  Where it misses is on the acidity, which is more restrained than I would expect for a Chianti, although it’s not terribly off the mark.  The finish is decent, with lingering raspberry tea flavors.  Overall, it smells and tastes nice, but lacks some vibrancy due to the restrained acidity.

For the price, this is an extreme value.

Wine: Gonfalone Chianti 
Variety: Chianti
Vintage: 2009
Alcohol: 12.5%
Rating: 84
Price: $5.99

Walker Napa Valley Red

Walker Napa Valley Red Wine 2007

The color is a brownish, brick red.  It doesn’t have the bright red color of most young red blends, but then as a 2007, it ‘s not so young anymore.  I was actually a touch surprised to see them carrying a 2007.  Although it doesn’t say this anywhere on the bottle, this wine is a blend of merlot, syrah and cabernet sauvignon.

The nose on this wine shows cherry and plum aromas, as well as quite a bit of oak, which takes on nutmeg and cedar characteristics in this one.  The oak is a little heavy, but not offensively so.  The palate is medium bodied, which is exactly what the label says.  It does have some nice fruit flavors on the palate that give a touch of sweetness and touch of tart, such as raspberry, plum and strawberry.  There are some subtle tannins too.  The finish is a continuation of the fruit flavors with a bit of residual sugar leaving a slightly sweet flavor on your tongue.  This isn’t a wine that I’m going to rant and rave about, but it’s OK for what it is and still quite a value.

Wine: Walker
Variety: Red blend
Vintage: 2007
Alcohol: 13.5%
Rating: 83
Price: $7.99

Landshut Riesling

Landshut Riesling

When I saw this wine I cringed a bit because I’ve tasted far too many bad, sweet rieslings in the past and I was skeptical.  But then I saw that it was from Mosel, which gave me some reassurance.  But the proof is ultimately with what’s in the bottle and I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

The nose is a little tight, but shows expecable aromas for a riesling, like honeysuckle, apple and lime.  The palate is sweet, with peach, apple and lime flavors.  It has enough acidity to bring it to life on your tongue, although a little more acidity would help the overall balance with the sweetness.  It finishes long, with lingering sweet apple flavors.

Wine: Landshut
Variety: Riesling
Vintage: 2010
Alcohol: 9.5%
Rating: 83
Price: $4.99

Disclosure: These wines were received as a media sample.

43 replies to this post
  1. Actually, Tom, that’s not quite true. Aldi was founded by two brothers, Karl and Theo Albrecht. They split the company in two in 1960, each brother leading taking half. The company owned by Karl includes Aldi stores in the US, while the company owned by Theo owns Trader Joe’s. Theo passed away in 2010, but I believe the company he owned is still owned by his family. Regardless, Aldi and Trader Joe’s have separate operations. They are not one company.

  2. I thought the same thing when I tasted it. I was expecting something horrible, but it wasn’t bad at all.

  3. I was turned on to Aldi wine about a year ago and have not looked back! Their Landshut Riesling is a staple in our house and our go to inexpensive wine. I also really like the Chianti. People laugh sometimes when I say that I buy wine at Aldi but I assure them that they would def be surprised.

  4. It’s interesting that I came across the reviews of wines at Aldi here.

    One wine that I have been buying at Aldi is a 2009 Galadino Chianti Classico. I love a good Classico and at $7.99 in Ohio (probably less elsewhere), it’s KILLER. I’ve had Classicos that I’ve paid nearly $20 for that are not as good as this wine. One of the better wine values that I have come across lately and when I bought it, it was on a whim when I was in Aldi to buy milk.

    Another decent wine that I have bought a few bottles of at Aldi, again on a whim, is a 2011 Monte Blanco Sauvignon Blanc – a Chilean wine. At $5.99 in Ohio, it is another steal.

  5. Hey Ken. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t know that Aldi had a Chianti Classico. That’s great! I’ll have to check it out.

  6. I used to really enjoy their Winking Owl Chardonnay. I’m not as big on Chardonnay any more, however.

    Just picked up their Landshut Gewurztraminer. I have not had much Gewurztraminer in my life so I really don’t know if it’s considered good or not. (Googling reviews of it is what brought me here.) I like it, though, and that’s all that counts.

  7. Right on, Jessica. The fact that you like a wine is all that counts. Thanks for sharing your discovery!

  8. I tried the Landshut riesling today, after trying numerous other wines from Aldi, and I will say I was pleasantly surprised!! I found a very “fishy” aftertaste with both Chaza moscato and pink moscato, and a “watered down” alcohol content seemed to be a problem….if you just want something that tastes good, go with the moscato, but it won’t give you that “I just had a glass of wine” feeling. The Landshut riesling is just the ticket for price vs quality, and I’m enjoying it!! No aftertaste!!

  9. Tim Lemke said on December 13th, 2012

    Hey Ken. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t know that Aldi had a Chianti Classico. That’s great! I’ll have to check it out.

    Tim, I just looked back at your comments. The Chianti Classico seemed to be a “one & done” type of thing that Aldi did. I find that they do that every now and then. I loaded up on it when I wrote my comments above but it hasn’t been in since late December. Around the same time Aldi had the Classico, they were carrying a “Grande Alberone” that was more like a Ripasso than an Amarone.It had the same dried grape “raisiny” overtones and was surprisingly rich and flavorful. It had a good amount of acidity to keep it in check. I managed to pick up another bottle before they were gone.

    Another interesting wine I picked up at Aldi around the same time I bought the Classico was a German Beerenauslese. It was an incredible price but was not made from Riesling but, rather, from Ortega. That grape sounds as if it would be from Spain but is actually grown in the Rheinhessen region of Germany and is a cross between Müller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe. Unfortunately Aldi (at least the one that I go to in West Chester, Ohio) does not have that wine anymore but they’ll probably have it before next Christmas.

    If you like Port wine there is also a pretty decent Maynard’s Porto that my Aldi still has. In Ohio it is something like $9.99. I bought it in Indiana for $7.99.

    One wine that I have also recently buying is a 2011 Iguado Azteca. This is a 75/25 Cab/Merlot blend from Baja California, Mexico! This is the first Mexican wine that I ever tried and I can truthfully say that I was initially reluctant but at $5.99 I thought I had nothing to lose. I don’t normally give wines numerical scores but I would probably put this at about a 84. It was very drinkable with a nice acidity. To me it was almost like a Sangiovese. It would be a good mid-week pizza and/or spaghetti & meatballs wine. One thing that made me glad about buying this wine is that I am now eager to check out some higher end wines from the Baja region of Mexico. I’ve heard that it is an upcoming wine region and if the cheap Aldi wine is an indication of the quality of grapes, I don’t doubt it.

    Last, but not least, I’m still occasionally buying the 2011 Monte Blanco Sauvignon Blanc that I wrote about above. This is a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and is a nice reprieve from the NZ SBs that can sometimes be over-the-top in terms of grassiness or grapefruit notes. Also, the West Chester Aldi just got in a 2011 Cellers Des Aumoniers CdR. Rhone wines/varietals are my favorite so I am looking forward to trying it.

    Overall, I have picked up some really good wines at Aldi and at decent prices. I’ll admit I’ve picked up a few that I’ve not liked but I am more often pleased with my purchases than not. Aldi also manages to get some really interesting wines in from time to time that have made me expand my palate and seek out higher-end wines made from the same grapes or from the same regions. I have other stores that get a lot more of my wine dollars but if I’m in a pinch I could do a lot worse than buying at Aldi.

  10. Wow! Thanks for the thorough write-up, Ken. I may need to recruit you write up some full reviews.

    I never would have expected to come across a Beerenauslese at Aldi! Too bad they’re out now, I would have loved to try that. I’ll keep an eye out.

    The Mexican wine is also intriguing. I’ve heard a few folks talk about Mexican wines, but I haven’t had a chance to try one yet.

    Thanks again for the comments.

  11. We love Aldi wines. About the moscato…I usually don’t care for moscato, because I prefer a drier wine, but I found the Aldi Chaza Moscato to be a pleasant change. I don’t detect any fishy aftertaste as the other writer attests — just nice honeysuckle, peary, floral tones and feeling of drinking sunshine from a bottle. We’ve compared it to a Corsican (Island Girls from World Market) moscato with 11.5% and the Aldi wine was a bit fuller-tasting and fruitier, maybe less acidic with 7%. Island Girls moscato had a better nose. The Aldi wine was about $2 less per bottle. Both are decent sitting-out-on-the-deck wines.

  12. Actually at the beginning I said to myself “CHEAP WINE”. I posted this on a site , It’s not that….. bad. It does not have that horrible aftertaste that leaves your mouth dry. It’s good… For the price. Different I would say. It’s worth to try it.

  13. I do not know much about wine but since I have been to Italy I have tasted some from Sicily that I loved. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name or blend but it was red. Haha

    I have bought some red wine from Aldi’s and my favorite for the price is the Walker.

  14. The Winking Owl white Zinfandel is also wonderful–it really tastes great! Just bought some Riesling–excited to try it!

  15. Joseph Williams, If u like Moiselle Moscato @ Aldi for $4.49 (for 750ml), I recommend you try Bridge Road Vineyards Moscato @ Aldi for ONLY $7.99 (for 1.5L). Delicious peach & citrus flavors! The BEST sweet wine I’ve tasted in a very long time. I have become mainly a Moscato drinker thanks to this wine @ Aldi!

  16. as far as i am concerned one of the best wines i have purchased at aldi’s is the grande albarone a red blend which on a quality price basis beat all others in its category, bar none-len

  17. Thanks Tim for the review on Aldi”s Landshut riesling I was shopping with a friend this week and he suggested that I try it, I totally agree with your review, will be buying more next week! !

  18. I almost always prefer dry reds, but love Winking Owl Moscato. A friend had some on a camping trip and I loved it. I was picking up nutmeg notes in it. It’s really sweet, but great cold on a hot day like today. I’m trying the Grande Alberone today.

  19. Well chilled, the Winking Owl Moscato is crisp, so clean on the palate and yes, sweet, but not cloyingly so. As one who’s enjoyed the dry, unpretentious palate of a decent Chardonnay, I was quite pleasantly surprised at how appealing this wine truly was. I confess I returned to the store the next day to purchase several more bottles to chill and have on hand. Admittedly I I’m not a connoisseur of rare wines. However, this wine is pleasant, palatable and leaves no negative aftertaste. I’m very pleased to have stumbled upon such a pleasurable surprise . This, by the way, was my first foray into Aldi’s winestock. I look forward to futher exploration.

  20. I just started drinking red wine moiselle sweet red is that a good red wine ? Elaine rounds

  21. Hi S.ann, thanks for sharing your experience with Aldi wines. It’s always nice when you can find a wine you like that happens to be bargain priced.

    @Elaine – If you you like it, it’s good. That’s what matters most.

  22. Thanks Tim for sharing your reviews on wine from Aldi here. I am planning my husband a surprise 50th birthday party. I’m not a huge connoisseur of wine so I’m not exactly sure what to buy. Since we will be having a lot of people attend,I have slowly started buying one red wine, one white and a six pk of their imported beers for the party (months in advance) and hiding them all over the house so my husband doesn’t suspect anything, also to keep the cost down and not buy all the alcoholic drinks at once. Just hope my husband doesn’t find the bottles and think I have a problem! Hahaha Thanks again for the great reviews and if you have any new ones from Aldi, please share! Cheers!

  23. Hi Katya. That’s hilarious! I hope the 50th birthday party is a success. And I hope you can find all the wine you hid around your house. 🙂

  24. Thank you Tim! I was thinking the same thing… I hope I remember where I put all the wine bottles! Hahaha

  25. So good to find your site. A favorite find recently is Route 99 red blend from Lodi. It’s fruit-forward intense and a very good blend, especially for the price; $4.99. Highly recommend

  26. Hi Jim. Thanks for your comment and thank you for the recommendation. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it. Cheers!

  27. That’s a good question. I honestly don’t know. I haven’t had many Aldi wines since writing this post. There are just so many wines to try 😉

  28. I thought I would try some of Aldi’s wines. I generally like cabernet or merlot so I purchased the Flirty Bird Cabernet Sauvignon (2015) from Central Spain. Boy! It knocked me off my feet. I just noted on the label (love those birds sitting on a wire) that it is 17% alcohol. Is that usual?

  29. 17% ABV is not normal and doesn’t sound right. Perhaps it should be 12%, which wouldn’t surprise me.

  30. I have only purchased a couple of wines from Aldi. However, when I came across the 2008 Grand Alberone I was floored. Such a different but wonderful mouthful for the price point. However, it didn’t stay around long and I am having such a treasure hunt trying to find it again. I have tried the Winking Owl but found it to be a watered down version of what could be a decent wine. According to these comments, I have a few more to try so I am excited. We just got out Aldi here this recently in Beaumont, CA . They haven’t been too consistent with quality so I am going to reserved my critique for a few more months. Hopefully, they will be more stable soon.

  31. Used the dry white for a fondue recipe……drank about half of what was left…..let me tell you, it’ll get you there, I’m a happy drunk with melted cheese sauce all over me. I think it’s time to go lay down.

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