Back in April, a panel of wine experts from across the world gathered for the International Wine Challenge’s Great Value Awards in London. There, they christened Aldi's Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016 one of the finest wines in the world. Sold only at Aldi locations within the United Kingdom for a mere £5.99 (that's just under $8), the variety earned a silver medal within the main competition while ranking first within the hyper-specific "Great Value Rosé under £8" category."
Here was a curious specimen of a drink: A literal world-class wine sold in a supermarket, and attached to a price tag that wouldn’t maim your bank account, no less! It’s no surprise that this praise generated enough consumer excitement that Aldi strategically decided to debut the product within the United States. Starting tomorrow, the Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016 is being sold in Aldi stores nationwide for $7.99 and only while supplies last, a period I’m guessing won’t be too long.
I got my hands on a bottle of the wine, for I was desperate to know: Was this drink a recipient of the relentlessly cheery goodwill of that machine we call food and lifestyle media, one that trumpets products it hasn't even tried? (It's a sport I admittedly participated in myself; it'd be awfully irresponsible not to try a drink whose virtues I sang blindly.) Does this wine really live up to its lofty reputation? Does it “dance on the tongue”?
After a few sips of the drink at room temperature, I found it rather nondescript in both aroma and mouthfeel, no more special than any other rosé I'd had. Acknowledging the limits of my unsophisticated palate, I gathered some colleagues and subjected them to a taste test of the wine—one of the drink at room temperature, a second after the bottle had been chilled in a refrigerator for two days. What follows are some of their observations; consider them casual tasting notes.
Jackson Fust, Assistant Buyer: It’s not too sweet. Has a nice tartness. It’s half the price of Whispering Angel and possibly better tasting. Nice, thick mouthfeel. Rosé is not the wine you buy to age. It’s a warm weather wine. A party wine. I would drink this at a backyard party.
Nikkitha Bakshani, Associate Editor: Dry for sure. In a good way. Kind of full-bodied. Like a mild fruit…not an apple; that’s too strong. Like a pear. It’s a little too on the sweet side. Not something I taste and say, this is amazing. For an $8 wine, though, it’s good. It’s a little…bland? Definitely a wine you can drink a lot. It's not very fragrant.
Margot Wood, Social Media Director: Really sugary. Perfect for college students over 21.
Kaitlin Bray, Senior Social Media Manager: It tastes like an $8 rosé.
AFTER CHILLING FOR TWO DAYS
Joanna Sciarrino, Managing Editor: It’s surprisingly dry and drinkable. Way more than i was expecting for an $8 wine.
Katie MacDonald, Assistant Editor: Sweet. As I drink it more, I get more acclimated to it. It’s not undrinkable.
Valerio Farris, Staff Writer: Tart and sweet. I would drink this in the late afternoon as a refreshing sip.
The Food52 verdict?
For a measly $8, you could do far worse.
Aldi's Exquisite Collection Cotes de Provence Rosé 2016 goes on sale tomorrow, if you're so compelled to buy it.