The Winking Owl Shiraz is a non-vintage $2.89 ALDI (checked the receipt and the bag of apples I purchased sold for 50 cents more than this bottle of wine) exclusive sourced by grapes grown in California. ALDI and Trader Joe’s are each owned by different branches of the same family and Winking Owl (Gallo) is ALDI’s version of TJ’s Charles Shaw or 2 Buck Chuck (Bronco Wines). Shiraz and Syrah are the exact same grape, with Australia using the Shiraz name and most of the rest of the wine world (except South Africa) uses the Syrah name (except in this case). When you sell a bottle of wine for $2.89 you don’t have a lot of money to fool around with, the Winking Owl label is about as basic as you can get, the cork is the minimum you can go that still does the job and the bottle is light weight and generic. So they didn’t waste any money on the bottling and packaging, which may well be a good thing if they put the bulk of the money into the grapes and the winemaking. When choosing a Red wine in this extremely low price range it is best to choose a grape that does not need oak seasoning, that shows well with minimal manipulation. The less they have to do to the grapes the better the wine should be. The alcohol is 13.5%.
The color is decent, it is black cherry red and almost opaque. The nose isn’t bad, red berries, spice, cinnamon, and blueberry. This is a dry wine, it has a bit of a sharp mouth-feel and is medium-bodied. It tastes of black cherry, plums, there is an odd chemical reaction, almost like a shot of acidity happening on my tongue with each sip, though it lessens with every sip I take. The mid-palate adds some candied strawberry. The tannins are very soft and I don’t know if that is off-balance acidity or what that leaves a biting sensation on my tongue, but it is not very pleasant. This would be a fairly easy-to-drink smooth Red wine, if it wasn’t for that chemical/acidic reaction happening. I realize that not everyone’s palate is the same, so another wine drinker may not experience the same sensation that I do. This is something I have never experienced in a wine before, and I have sampled thousands of wines.