Feb 23, 2024 - Food and Drink

Aldi now has wines for under $5

wine and cheese

Four of Aldi's eight new California Heritage wines with suggested pairings. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Aldi recently released a bargain wine brand that aims to be your go-to table selection.

The big picture: The Batavia-based discount market has long offered cheap, not-great vintages (like Winking Owl) on one end and pricier award-winners (like Côtes de Provence rosé) on the other end. But it's lacked a reliable table wine to compete with Trader Joe's beloved Charles Shaw (aka "Two Buck Chuck").

Zoom in: We tried four bottles (each $4.95) from the new California Heritage collection with Aldi's North American wine buyer Arlin Zajmi.

  • He says this year's grapes come from California's Central Valley, but future vintages could draw from anywhere in the state.
  • Zajmi paired each wine with, you guessed it, other Aldi products.

What to expect:

  • Sparkling brut — Nice bright appley aroma but too sweet for my taste. Still, it could make fine mimosas. (Paired with dark chocolate)
  • Chardonnay — Well-balanced with a lovely peachy nose and buttery finish. (Paired with sharp English cheddar cheese)
  • Pinot noir — Light body with smokey notes and thin finish. (Paired with Manchego cheese)
  • Cabernet sauvignon — Lovely blackberry and tobacco nose with a nice jammy finish. (Paired with mesquite barbecue kettle chips)

The verdict: I didn't adore the sparkling and pinot but would be happy to serve any of these as an everyday table wine.

Plus: I was wowed by two pricier bottles from the store's new Specially Selected collection: A well-balanced 2023 Argentine Malbec from Mendoza's Uco Valley ($7.99) and an elegant and delish 2021 Napa cabernet sauvignon ($14.99).

  • The cabernet sauvignon is already sold out in a few North Side stores.
wine bottles
Two new Specially Select bottles from Aldi include a Napa cab and a Malbec. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

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