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St. Gisbertus Halloween Sweet Red (Aldi)

Wine is not my forte…generally, the only time I drink it is when I want to get a good buzz on, and there’s nothing else in the house. For that purpose, I can force any kind of wine down…even the dry ones that taste, to me anyway, like they are made out of fermented rubbing alcohol instead of grapes.

But every once in a while, I like to enjoy my wine, and there is no better way to get me to give one a go than to have the word “sweet” on the label. If “Halloween” happens to be on there, then it’s pretty much a guaranteed purchase. And when said concoction is just $5.99 (in Ohio, and a dollar cheaper in just about every other Midwest state) then please, just take my money. And that is the story of how I ended up with this bottle of wine, available as a Special Buy just in time for the Halloween season, from my local Aldi store.

The one thing I did not take into consideration during this whole process, is that red wine, by nature, is not at all sweet. I learned that the hard way after ordering a glass from a chain restaurant several years back, in an amateurish attempt to get drunk. (I was also wondering why it was given to me warm…was the refrigerator broken?) The reason I’m telling you this seemingly unnecessary story is because this stuff might be “sweet” by red wine standards, but it was not sweet enough for my limited wine palate.

According to the bottle, we have a sweet blackberry flavor; I got more of a semi-sweet red wine taste with a bitter finish. This definitely wasn’t what I was expecting going in, and I was definitely disappointed. Even my wife–whose wine preferences skewer more toward the dry–was more than a little let down. I’m also struggling to comprehend why this is marketed as a Halloween wine at all: I figured maybe there would be some kind of mulled spices, or something that would differentiate this from similar wines that can be purchased year round. But all we get are plum and cherry aromas (fruits that don’t exactly scream “Halloween”, or even “fall”, for that matter), and the previously mentioned blackberry flavor (again, not exactly something that one normally equates with the season).

Maybe I’m just missing something–and I’m certainly not denying that’s a possibility, as this is not my kind of wine–but I was left quite underwhelmed with this. Though I would definitely chug it to get a wine buzz if nothing else was in the house…

Overall: 5/10. Maybe I’m missing something here, but how is a wine with plum and cherry aromas, and a sweet blackberry flavor (all information taken from the bottle itself) even remotely reminiscent of fall? Sure, blackberry season and plum season generally end some time in October, but I would consider them more summer fruits. Anyway, this wasn’t nearly sweet enough for my liking, though I suppose it’s much sweeter than most red wines. My wife, whose palate is geared more toward the dry, but who can also appreciate sweet, was similarly let down. I will give it some marks for value, as a 750 mL bottle retails for $5.99 in Ohio, and $4.99 elsewhere, but I’m not sure I’ll be getting this again.

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