We at the wine blog obviously love Costco almost more than anywhere else. And that’s not just because of the wine. The entirety of the product offering, great prices and unique experience make it a one of a kind shopping experience.
Aldi is similar in some ways but different in others. It’s a unique shopping experience with great prices on food, and other random items too.
They have a very limited wine section, and our experience with their wines was equally limited. So we thought it might be fun to do a little exploring.
There are a fair amount of reds, whites and sparkling bottles from around the world on the shelves at Aldi. They are all off-brands we’ve never seen before, and the pricing seemed very low for all of them.
The Aldi house brand is Winking Owl, which produces Moscato, a sweet red, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The prices for all of them are hard to beat at only $3.45. This is Two Buck Chuck land.
From an initial impression, they all seem a fairly big step down from what we get in the Costco Kirkland wines, which are often region specific, and originating from not only popular regions, but renowned ones too, around the world. The Winking Owl wines also do not carry a vintage on them. But to be fair, their price is much lower.
For fun we purchased a Winking Owl Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. We also purchased a Russian River Chardonnay for $14.95 that we wanted to taste. Let’s get into them.
Winking Owl Chardonnay
This wine was a medium gold in the glass with some citrus fruit on the nose; it is medium bodied and very basic and singular; green apple, pear flavor; light and simple, alc. 12%. We’d recommend fully chilling this one.
Winking Owl Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is a light ruby in the glass, juicy nose, lots of candy and sugar; some cherry and dark fruit flavor once you get into it; really young and juicy; 12% alcohol as well.
Both of these are about what you would expect at such a low price point, and they taste like inexpensive, basic wines.
The day before we actually tasted some wines on a Delta flight (Chardonnay and Cab) from Imagery wines in a can and they were both a bit better.
Moving onto the RRV Chardonnay from Aldi.
2020 Woodleaf Ranch Russian River Chardonnay
A slight step up from the other Chardonnay but by no means what you would expect from Russian River Valley.
A medium gold in the glass, nice aromas albeit a little muted hinting at something good inside; more muted flavor throughout on this one.
It’s a pleasant wine, nice citrus fruit, clean and vibrant, ok in the finish, but just light, almost as if someone had snuck a few ice cubes in it before tasting it.
Despite drinking all of these wines out of our favorite $50 Grassl glasses that seems to make anything taste better, they all dragged a little behind. It’s hard to ding bottles as inexpensive as the Winking Owl line we tasted, but for a few bucks more at Costco, and perhaps also across the Aldi wine selection, you can get a nice bump in quality.
Aldi is an interesting store, and worth a visit to check out the wine aisle, along with everything else they have to offer.
We’ll make it a point to cruise through their wine aisles occasionally to see what might pop up. Let us know in the comments below if you have tasted any wines from Aldi, and if you have favorites or thoughts.