Monthly Archives: October 2013

2010 Vina Decana Tempranillo (4 out of 5)




I think the last time I picked up a bottle of this was as a Christmas present for my former coworker and friend Marc. I didn’t think he was going to go for it, because he truly does know his spirits, whereas I am a novice in the field. I was pleasantly surprised that he enjoyed it immensely. I had forgotten just how good this temp is. 

2010 Vina Decana Tempranillo, the 2013 tasting and review, was a pleasant reminder that you can get an affordable tempranillo and not break the bank. This wine can be found at the usual suspects, also at Aldi, where I believe it is an exclusive sell available through them only. It retails for 5 bucks if you buy it from Aldi. 

This is a smooth, light wine. The pinot from the other day was stronger than this wine. This wine has sustainable tannins, some good spice (but not too much), and blackberry all over the place. cloves, and some weird offbeat cherry taste that tastes oddly familiar but I cannot put my finger on where I have tasted this before. I let this wine breathe for over a hour, because the great closet cleanup was under way, and I lost track of time. However, it worked in favor. It had an even more pleasing bouquet the longer it was exposed to air. The true test will be once it’s been chilled for awhile. I’m sure it’ll be as great as it is. The flavors work well in tandem and you find yourself enjoying a truly fine tempranillo for a moderate cost. 

I’m a big fan of tempranillo in general. It’s hard to find a truly good one. D has helped me over the years trying to track one down, and John M has thrown a few my way, but it’s a slippery slope. I’m not sure why it’s harder to locate a good tempranillo, maybe it’s just a harder grape to break (Peter Cetera, don’t sue me for killing your song). Other temps that I have tried and am friendly with are Rioja Vega, El Posadero, and Berberana. I have fond memories of those, and they are a little bit more than the Vina, but well worth it and still under 10 bucks. I always tell people who have stomach issues that I like the pinot noir and the tempranillos better, because they aren’t so hard on the stomach, and they’re not a real strong wine. This one has a 12.5% alcohol quotient, so you’re not dealing with a heavy hitter in the wine cabinet. I paired this with pasta and marinara and it worked fine. I think it’s the sort of wine you could pair with anything on the lighter side of pasta, and you have a good match. Or milk chocolates with caramel. I would not advise mixing this with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, that didn’t josh so well. 


2011 Socello Pinot Noir (4 out of 5)




I found this one at (shock, surprise!) Aldi. I thought, $4.99 isn’t bad for a pinot, let’s give it a whirl. I had the damn bottle for over a week and haven’t tried it. Last night after the 2-mile walk, I decided to celebrate being alive, and so I popped the sucker and had a glass. I wasn’t disappointed, for once (Aldi’s track record with wine isn’t a good one, at least where my reviews are concerned). 

When opened and aired for a hour, it had a nice, pleasant aroma to it. There wasn’t any acidity or fragrance of anything beside fruit. It has a nice, purple hue to it. First, second, and third tastes yield a pleasant surprise of black cherry and plum, but not overwhelming on either point. It has a light, airy taste, typical of a pinot noir. No lingering aftertaste, just nice notes of jammy plum fruit. It does end with a slight peppery kick, but it’s not like you’ve inhaled a fucking pepper shaker, like some wines I’ve had the unfortunate luck of drinking recently.

As I said, this beauty retails for $4.99 and is available at only Aldi, at least to my knowledge. I would have to say it’s pleasant all around. I had it with turkey burgers and a salad with tuna and greens. It was the perfect match. I would recommend this wine for an economical value. Estancia it’s not, but it’s pretty good for an Aldi wine. 

2012 Alamos Red Blend (4 out of 5)




D got this for me. It was haunting him at Target, calling my name out from the wooden shelves of obscurity. So when we dyed the grays out of my hair (somehow missing the roots. LOL), he drank his white and I tried this one. Strong ass fragrance when you uncork it. It’s a strong mamma-jammer, this wine. 

This blend is made up of Malbec, Tempranillo, and Bonarda, which I was not familiar with prior to this blend. It has a 13.5% alcohol content, so you know they’re not screwing around with this one. It is so dark garnet in color you almost wonder if you’re going to be drinking a chocolate wine, minus the cream. (They do exist, in case you aren’t aware). It did not taste like chocolate. It tasted divine, but it comes on almost too strong, like a bad pass made at a Patriots game. I can make out dark berry, and a whole lot of spice, with just a smidgen of vanilla at the end. Way at the end. No way does the vanilla surface and come out into the flavor palate until the end of the glass, after it has been exposed to air for a little while. In this case, almost 90 minutes between pouring and finishing the glass. It has some serious spice, this wine. I would highly recommend it with steak, or ribs. It needs a hearty meal to bring out the hearty flavors hidden in this blend. I would not recommend it with light stuff. I had it with a turkey burger, tuna, and rice and beans, and it didn’t fit too well with that combination. I think the more potent the meal, the more you will appreciate this potent wine. 

There’s some plum flavor lurking in the background of this wine, but it seems like I taste it more when the wine is newly opened and warm. Once I had done my usual and chilled the wine, I didn’t notice the taste a third as much. That in itself struck me as odd, but it has happened with other vintages, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Regardless, this wine kicked my ass. Almost too much so. I love it, but it has to be with the right meal. It also isn’t a wine for the light of heart wine night, which I was having, due to gastrointestinal issues. This one is waiting for me to finish it. Likely tomorrow night during Castle. 

I heartily recommend this blend. It is like no other red wine blend I’ve tried yet, and it’s sheer strength is the strength of the wine. Dark flavors and much spice create a tapestry of the tastiest variety imaginable. You won’t be sorry. It retails for $9.99 at Target, but price really does differ depending on where you buy it. Safeway is charging $12.99; Binny’s has it for $6.99. Go figure. Totally worth whatever price you pay for it. 

2011 Intermingle (3 out of 5)



I was eyeing this wine for awhile. However, after trying a wide number of wines from Aldi that were as delicious as smelt, I swore them off. I now wish I had tried this one first and didn’t bother with any of those. This wine was pretty damn good. The label on the bottle, with man and woman, looking as if they are going to start sucking face at any second, did not endear the wine to me at first. I am glad I didn’t judge the wine by the label.

2011 Intermingle’s label promises a full-bodied semi-sweet wine. It isn’t really that sweet at all, happily. It is more full-bodied than other red wine blends I have gotten from Aldi. There is a slightly sweet smell from this wine, not at all overwhelming or repugnant. Overall taste? I taste some notes of berry and cherry, although somewhat mulled by vanilla and some oaky finish. There isn’t an aftertaste of anything, and no vinegary taste at all, which I have found is a similar with many of the Aldi wines. I had it with pasta, and it worked well. Pasta with red sauce. If you went the buttered noodle or Alfredo route, I fear you would not bring out the best flavors of the wine. It was a good wine for what I was eating.

Phenomenal? Not quite, but also not as shoddy as the other Aldi wines I’ve tried. That’s why the 3 stars. It’s okay, but it’s not fantastic. It is, however, a little bit more on the $5.99 side, opposed to many other Aldi wines that retail around $3-$4. It was worth the extra couple of bucks to not feel as if I drank a whole bottle of swill, though. I would recommend this if you’re in a pinch and need a sublime red wine for a weeknight dinner.