I always think of Aldi as Trader Joe's quirky, minimalist German cousin. (Before you @ me, read this: The Biggest Thing You Get Wrong About Trader Joe's and Aldi.) Like Trader Joe's, Aldi really shines in the snack department — ditto for their wines. Aldi wines frequently win awards, and people who love them really love them. But for some reason, people don't talk about Aldi wine the way they talk about Trader Joe's wine. I'm hoping to change that a bit.
I held a blind taste test with some of my wine expert friends and these are the single best red and white wines at Aldi.
White: Giretto Pinot Grigio, $5.49
Dude, this is just $5.49 and it's pretty gosh darn good. It actually tastes like Pinot Grigio is supposed to taste, which we wine nerds refer to as "varietally correct." While it's a bit pale and not the most flavorful wine I've ever had, it also doesn't display a lot of the flaws I normally find with wines at this price point. There's a little of that sulfury (like a struck match) aroma, but it will blow off after a while. (If you want to hasten this process in cheap wine, try sloshing it into a decanter and letting it sit for 45 minutes or so.)
Aside from that, there isn't excess residual sugar and the finish isn't bitter, which is a common problem I see in cheap Pinot Grigio. Sometimes cheap wine gets points more for what it's not than what it is. My blind tasters didn't uniformly love this, but it has the endorsement of two reasonably competent wine professionals, and I personally thought it was pretty good even though I didn't taste it blind. And also, it's $5.49! If you end up not liking it, you're out less than $6.
Red: Outlander Cabernet Sauvignon, $8.99
Coming in at just under $10 is the Outlander Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles. Two out of my three blind tasters liked this pretty well, and I did too. If you like Cabernet, Merlot, and/or Carmenère from Chile, you will probably like this. It's from California, but it shows more of that green pepper aroma characteristic of wines from that area. This also has pretty firm tannins, so I wouldn't recommend it as a standalone sipper. So if you're looking for something to serve at a cocktail party, open house, or tree trimming party, I'd go with something a little softer and fruiter. But if you're doing a steak night and splurged on the meat without much left for wine, this is a good bet!
What's your favorite value find at Aldi? Let me know in the comments!