When people think of Spanish wine, it’s often Rioja. Many don’t realise Rioja is the region, not the grape – which is usually Tempranillo, or a Tempranillo blend- and that Spain has much more to offer. I’ve always like the fruity, well-structured character of Rioja, so am always eager to try other Spanish red wines when I come across them. This one, purchased from Aldi, is blend of 40% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 50% Bobal; a grape native to the Utiel-Requena region in Valencia, Spain.
Good news: all of Aldi’s Toro Loco Wines Are Vegan-Friendly!
This vegan-friendly and organic-certified red wine is from Aldi’s Spanish collection, Toro Loco, which means “Crazy Bull”. As well as a few red wines, the collection also includes a vegan-friendly rosé, and a white blend.
Bobal isn’t a grape I’ve come across before. Rumour has it the grape’s name itself is actually bull-orientated; Bobal is derived from the Latin bovale, (“bull”), which many think is due to the grapes growing in bull’s head-shaped bunches. Apparently the grape has experienced a revival in recent years, as Spanish growers have reinvested interest in it.
Thoughts On This Wine
Whilst I don’t think of myself as a wine snob, I tend to pass over wines that fall under the £7 mark, having experienced just how much wine between £10-£15 can jump up in quality. However, I was curious about this super cheap vegan red, given I had been immensely – and pleasantly- surprised by another vegan-friendly wine from Aldi recently: an Argentinian Malbec Rosé, £6.99 from Aldi’s Exquisite collection. Unfortunately, this is not the best wine, and I will favour other options in Aldi’s vegan wine selection next time.
That said, it’s £4.99 a bottle. On its own I found it tannic and unbalanced, but this became noticeably smoother when paired with tart berries and dark chocolate tofu pudding. My partner, who was having meat stew for dinner, agreed that the wine was drinkable with food, and somewhat underripe without.
Silken tofu pudding happens to be my absolute favourite vegan dessert! I make it all the time, often without scripted ingredient quantities, and this batch happened to have a higher cacao powder to agave nectar/ maple syrup ratio than usual. Subsequently it offered a rich bitterness which brought out the hidden fruit in the wine rather well. The supermarket recommendation is pasta or burgers, and I suspect a dish containing plenty of acidic tomatoes could improve this wine immensely.
Overall thoughts? This is not Aldi’s finest wine. Wine-thirsty vegans looking for a fruity Spanish wine with ripe tannins should explore some other options, because there are definitely better ones. But, if you do find yourself in this supermarket and want to try a vegan wine for under £5, crack it open and enjoy the excuse to have a few cubes of dark chocolate!
Have you tried any of Aldi’s vegan wines?