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Wine Review: Low price point yields surprising results

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Aldi markets sell wine and if you are a human being, price usually comes into the wine-buying equation.

When a major vender, such as Aldi, presents products at reduced prices, one must wonder how they do it. Since there have been no reports of problems with the products that Aldi sells, whatever they are doing must be right or the media would be all over them. With that in mind, I purchased some of Aldi’s wines right off of the shelf to determine for myself if they were quality or crap. Since there are very few of us who can afford to put a $15-plus bottle of wine on our table every night, a source of decent wines at affordable prices would be a blessing if it was true.
 
Landshut 2015 Riesling ($5)
As I spent several years in Germany, I started with this wine, with expectations of disappointment because of the low price. The Landshut 2015 Riesling comes from the Mosel river region - the Napa valley of Germany - and is absolutely terrific. If you have never experienced a true German riesling, prepare to be amazed as it is considerably better than its low price may indicate. This wine is slightly sweet, slightly petulant and displays the flavor, aroma and distinctive attributes found only in a true German riesling.
 
William Wright Monterey County 2013 Pinot Noir ($9)
I must admit to being a pinot noir lover, so if one does not come up to expectations, I can become downright nasty. This wine comes from Monterrey County, an area famed for its pinot noirs. This is not a great pinot noir; great pinot noirs sell for better than $75 a bottle. But it is a full-flavored mealtime beverage that well represents fine points of the variety and won’t bust the budget.
 
Crystal Creek 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon ($10)
Cabernet sauvignon is probably the most popular, criticized, argued over and expensive red wine in the world. This wine can take all that punishment and still hold its head up. The grapes come from Washington state’s Columbia Valley, a place that has proven perfect for growing quality cabernet sauvignon grapes. This wine delivers more flavor and aroma than its low price might indicate and then some.   
 
Benedtto 2014 Chianti ($5)
Although not swathed in the straw basket of old, this wine is a true Tuscan masterpiece that has been granted a DOCG – denominazione di origine controllata e garantita – classification by the Italian government, the highest rating an Italian wine can achieve. A brilliant deep garnet color heralds the fresh and pleasant aroma of violets and dried plums with a hint of wild berries in the background. The flavor is full and powerful, accenting blackberries, plums and that earthy flavor that has become synonymous with chianti. This wine is a bargain.
 
Winking Owl White Moscato ($3) and Moiesele California Moscato ($5)
This variety has been sneered at by gurus, self-styled experts and wine snobs who often refer to them as “a perfumed harlot” – how wrong they are. The red moscato adds a whole series of delightful fruit flavors to the familiar moscato flavor and aroma. These wines are well made, full flavored and a sweet lover’s dream at a super affordable price.
 
Los Andicos 2015 Malbec ($7)
Where do you go to find a true malbec? To its modern homeland, Mendoza Province in Argentina, and that is exactly where this wine comes from. Big, bold and very full flavored, this wine is as good as any I have tasted at double the price. Get it, try it and I know you will enjoy it. I did.
 
Villa Mantella 2015 Pinot Grigio ($5)
Another case of going to the home of a variety, in this scenario is the area around Venice, Italy. This pinot grigio is a member of the white wine family that is becoming America’s favorite wine and one sip will tell you why. Our suggestion is to give it a try; you will be amazed.

Nixa resident Bennet Bodenstein is a wine columnist and manages ArticlesOnWine.com. He can be reached at ben@articlesonwine.com.

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