Maker: Winking Owl Vineyards, Modesto, California
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, artificial cork
Alcohol: 12.0 %
Our Rating: 6 out of 10
Winking Owl Cabernet Sauvignon is a non-vintage offering aimed at the market niche popularized by Two Buck Chuck from Charles Shaw Wines. Unfortunately, it matches the price but misses the mark on quality. The bottle of Winking Owl Cab I tried was thin in color and flavor; in general, it was one big earthy off-note, and most of it went down the drain.
I'm hoping that I just got a bad bottle - others have reported more success with this inexpensive brand. The Drank Tank says, "And if there is one thing we are missing in the USA that they do have in Europe, it’s CHEAP wine that doesn’t make you ralph. Thank you Aldi for this piece of Europe. WINKING OWL is absolutely the best value wine I’ve ever had." Perhaps Winking Owl can use "Doesn't Make You Ralph" as their new tag line. Crumbs to mark the path comments, "super great value red... excellent & smooth...maybe new favorite." I saw some favorable forum postings, too. I like inexpensive reds as much as the next blogger, and I find it hard to reconcile the plonk I tasted with what everyone else seems to be saying about this Cab. I guess for $3, I can afford to try another bottle.
I did find one review that was closer to my own assessment, posted by Kathleen Purvis of McClatchy Newspapers:
Awful aroma, nasty flavor. "I'd say it's corked, but it had a plastic cork."
Winking Owl Vineyards seems to be an exclusive brand of the Aldi supermarket chain, which seems to be trying to stage a small-scale emulation of Trader Joe's with their inexpensive house brand wines. If you are looking for an ultra-low priced wine, we'd suggest Oak Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon as a somewhat better alternative.