The 2011 Grate Red (Grate comes from the grilling surface of what looks like a Weber grill on the label) Toscana Rosso is a $4.99 Aldi’s exclusive. Aldi’s is an international company and the parent company of Trader Joe’s. In Europe, Aldi’s wines are treated something like how we treat Trader Joe’s, they have a slew of bloggers writing about which wines are the best and Aldi’s is the place to go for very inexpensive wine. The Toscana Rosso is, of course, sourced from Tuscany in Italy and probably contains Sangiovese, though they do not list the grapes that were used. This is designated an IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) meaning that the Grate Red does not conform with the rules of the Tuscan wine board (DOC or DOCG), probably because it was produced to be sold in America. The alcohol content is 13%.
The color is a thin, see-thru raspberry red with plum red highlights. The nose is a mixture of fresh red fruit and spice gum drops. The Grate Red has a very soft mouthfeel and the flavor of the wine is a little hollow. It starts with fresh picked Michigan Cherries, but muted, not juicy, followed by cinnamon spice that lasts and lasts and a wisp of strawberry. It barely has a mid palate, but some blackberry and herbal tea do make their presence known. The tannins are very light and the acidity is balanced. The finish is soft and weak, but does linger around for a while.
I know the description of the Grate Red was not all that generous and this wine does have a watered down feel to it, but it is very easy to drink and it is pleasant to drink. Someone who does not like big Red wines might find the Grate Red easier to handle. The soft fruit flavors along with gentle spiciness is an attractive combination. There is some truth to the label, cooking up a few burgers while sipping on a glass of Grate Red, is probably the perfect use for this wine.