One of my most popular posts over Christmas was my review of Aldi’s Grande Alberone Zinfandel, a robust, crowd-pleasing red that offers excellent value for money. So, on a trip to the fancy all-mod-cons new Aldi that recently opened its doors in Brighton, I was excited to see the Grande Alberone now has a rival: another Californian Zinfandel from Meadowhawk Cellars. Ruthlessly, I shoved the Grande Alberone aside in favour of its hip new sibling. But did I make the right choice?
Well… as soon as I began to pour, I realised that this wine wasn’t what I expected. Not at all. Its colour gives the game away: medium ruby rather than the deep, rich purple I’d come to expect from Cali Zinfandel. In the mouth it lacks body too, which is a shame when the alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Zinfandel’s signature smokiness is present, alongside a slice of coffee and chocolate, but I’d have preferred these flavours more in the foreground. I like my Californian Zinfandels to be upfront, powerful and as American as monster trucks.
To be fair though, it’s my own fault for not noticing exactly whereabouts in California the Aldi Meadowhawk Cellars Zinfandel comes from.
It originates from Contra Costa County in northern California. And this explains why it tastes more like a Croatian Zinfandel than one from a hotter region like, say, Paso Robles in the south. And, like a lot of Croatian Zinfs, it’s just a bit too sweet and syrupy for my taste.
Rather than the spicy dark fruit you get from warmer climes, it’s red cherry and strawberries all the way here. Leave it to breathe and the flavours do develop into a more jammy, peachy quality, and it is very smooth, with little in the way of tannin.
But I’m definitely more of a Grande Alberone man. And I bet I know which one Arnold Schwarzenegger would prefer.
3 NINJA STARS
Aldi Meadowhawk Cellars Zinfandel 2017. 14.5% volume. £8.99
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Aldi Grande Alberone Zinfandel Review