Over the course of two weeks in April, a panel of wine experts convened in London for the International Wine Challenge’s Great Value Awards, a competition that some have dubbed the “Oscars of the wine industry.” They spent those weeks rigorously blind tasting nearly 13,000 wines to determine which varieties were among the world’s finest, regardless of price tag. Among the Silver Medal winners was a dry rosé variety that goes for roughly £5.99—that’s just under $8—at Aldi.
Exquisite Collection Côtes De Provence 2016, as it’s called, boasts a mouthfeel that’s ripe and quartzy. Aldi bills it as an ideal companion to grilled fish or salads. The variety is by far the cheapest medal winner in the competition. It also won out in the hyper-specific category of best rosé under £8.
The wine was created with the aid of winemaker Jean Claude Mas, in a concerted bid by the supermarket chain to work against the notion that fine wine must be expensive, and democratize access to it. It’s not exactly news, after all, that the notion of “fine wine” is classed—the very phrase conjures images of upsettingly high prices and an intimidatingly impermeable vocabulary to match.
I’ve got to admit that I’m pretty susceptible to rosé fatigue, which kicks in just about every June when I see a torrent of articles singing its praises. But consider my interest in Côtes De Provence piqued by this accolade. I’m afraid Aldi's award-winning rosé is not available for sale—yet—stateside, which is a bummer, though I certainly hope this citation makes Aldi bring it to the rest of the world. Aldi, I'm waiting.
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Have you ever had this wine? Have another inexpensive wine you think is world-class? Let us know in the comments.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.