I gave Aldi’s Grande Alberone Organic Red a five-star review in the early days of this website, so I was interested to try this Zinfandel made by the same producer in Puglia, south-eastern Italy — and housed in a very similar (difficult to photograph) bottle.
It’s no shrinking violet, that’s for sure. It’s darker than ox blood, with more body than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Cherry and dark berries smack you on the nose, against a backdrop of chocolate, but it also smells unusually… alcoholic.
And on checking the label I realised that this is indeed about as strong as regular wine gets, at 15% volume it’s verging on fortified wine. Yep, in a parallel universe, this Zinfandel could easily take on most other reds in a bare-knuckle street fight.
However, it is a wine that’s likely to polarise opinion, and it does so on Aldi’s website. One customer gives it a five-star review, saying “Don’t come to this wanting a finessed, complicated mouthful. This is massively fruity, in the velvety, richly extracted style of Californian Zinfandel… Easy to drink, but very alcoholic.” Another gives it one star, calling it “Too sweet, over-extracted and over-engineered.”
They’re both valid opinions, of course, but at £7.99 I’m inclined to side with the former. This is a rich, smooth, hefty and fruit-forward wine that will appeal to fans of New World reds like Barossa Valley Australian Shiraz — me included.
4 NINJA STARS
Aldi Grande Alberone Zinfandel, 2016. 15% vol, £7.99.