Category Archives: Wine Evaluations

Selectus 2007

Would you pay $11.99 for a $68 wine. Sounds too good to be true ……… maybe ….. maybe not. When the Selectus 2007, which is a Spanish blend, first arrived at Costo FO, I did my normal analysis using my professional Vivino app. The rating was good at 3.8 and it has a 94 point rating by Robert Parker ……. and the average price was showing $68.99!!!!! My first reaction was there has to be a mistake, but I could not find anything wrong with my input data, but remembering the old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t”, I didn’t give this wine much attention. A couple days ago I had a member in the wine area who was purchasing the 2007 Selectus, so I asked her if she could provide me with some input on the wine. Her first comment was that, “you know this is a $60 wine”!!! Turns out that the lady was an assistant buyer in the Regional Costco office in Atlanta and she was very familiar with the wine. Based on her comments I purchased a bottle to taste. My first impression was not real positive, however after airing the wine out for 30 minutes the wine presented an entirely different aroma and finish on the palate. The wine has a deep ruby color with flavors of blackberry and plums with an earthy background. The finish has a tight tannin structure with a slightly tart touch with a bit of spice. This wine will probably improve with a few more years of aging. Would I pay $68 f or this wine …….. probably my not …….. but t $11.99 it’s a great buy to add to your cellar.

Cheers!!

Justin 2014 Cabernet

The 2014 Justin Cabernet from Paso Robles is one you really need to try. From the dark ruby and purple color to the aromatic cherries and black currant jam, to the hints of spice and sweet tobacco, this full bodied wine is one to enjoy. With a little oak on the entry, the finish is long and layered with lingering dark fruit and soft chewy tannins. Priced at $21.99 at Costco FO, this wine is comparable with wine in the $30 range.

Cheers!

Chateau St. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot 2012

Full bodied and smooth, Chateau St. Michelle has another winner in their 2012 Indian Wells Red Blend. The wine is built around Merlot, Syrah, and Grenache, with three other red grapes adding shading. There are aromas of rose petals, cassis, and cherry, along with notes of vanilla and black tea, as they introduce a big, powerful, yet supple wine with velvety tannins and generous fruit character. This wine is normally $14.99 at Costco FO, but is priced at $11.99 through July 4th. This is an excellent value to add to your collection or just to enjoy over the 4th!

Cheers!!!

Swanson 2011 Merlot

Merlot has remained at the core of Swanson Vineyard’s identify since Clarke Swanson purchased the estate vineyards in 1985. Located in the Oakville area of Napa, this wine is made from two small blocks in the Rutherford and Yountville area. This wine has a vibrant garnet color and robust aromas of freshly crushed red and black cherries. There are notes of sweet blackberry, coffee, and all-spice which add to the complexity of the wine. In the mouth this wine exhibits ample black and red fruits, a medium body, and a fragrant, lingering finish. This wine is drinkable now or can be aged through 2022. This wine is priced at $14.99 at Costco FO through July 4th. This wine is normally priced at $19.99 at Costco FO and around $28 at other outlets. This wine would be a nice addition to any cellar.

Cheers!!!

Canoe Ridge Estate Cabernet Block 6 2012

I know a lot of you have become fans of the Canoe Ridge Reserve Cabernet ($14.99). Now you have the opportunity to try a new offering from Canoe Ridge …. their Estate Cabernet Block 6! This wine has a bright red-ruby color and has aromas of raspberry, cassis, cocoa powder, and violet. It is sweet and silky on the palate, offering an alluring fleshy quality to its cassis fruit framed by an edge of acidity. Aged for 24 months in 100% French Oak, of which 50% are new, this wine delivers the full body and silky finish we all enjoy. With only 250 cases being produced we are fortunate to have inventory at the Costco FO if this beautiful wine. Priced at $19.99 it is well worth your investment. The wine is priced around $35 at other outlets ….. if you can find it!

Cheers!

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2011

Finally we have a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano!!! If you are not familiar with this wine you should be. While similar in style to a Chianti due to it being made mostly with Sangiovese grapes, this is a great option if you love Tuscan wines and want something a little more refined. Wines from Montpulciano enjoy a storied history dating back to the 8th Century and is one of the first regions to receive DOCG status. This wine is a little fuller than a Chianti Classico and higher in alcohol. While not as dark or rich as a Brunello di Montalcino, this wine is typically more affordable. With aromas of wild berry, violet, and a hint of Mediterranean herbs, this wine offers a structured palate of mature black cherry with a hint of Orange zest alongside fine grained tannins. Priced at $14.99 at Costco FO this is a wine is one to add to your shopping list. This wine is priced around $20 at other outlets.

Cheers!!!

Bousquet Gaia 2013

If you have enjoyed the Bousquet Cabernet and Malbec, then you are in for a treat with their new offering at Costco FO, Bousquet Gaia. Gaia is a red blend with 50% Malbec, 45% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet. The grapes for Gaia are harvested by hand from the Bousquet vineyards located at 4000 feet above sea level near the Mendoza region of Argentina. The grapes are raised using the organic method. The wine is aged in French Oak for 10 months with provides a silky palate and soft rounded tannins. Notes of blackberries, spices, and truffles provide an aromatic complexity for an exquisite finish. Gaia is almost black in color and exhibits intense aromas of red and blackberries with many layers. This wine goes great with red meats, red sauces, cheeses, and chocolate. Rated 92 points by Wine Spectator this wine is well worth the $14.99 price at the Costco FO. This wine is priced at $17.95 at other outlets.

Cheers!!!

American or French Oak?

You have probably heard of American Oak and French Oak (there is also Slovakian, Hungarian, and Russian Oak but that will be for another day!), but do you know what the differences are between the two?

Why is oak used in wine making? It is used to vary the color, flavor, tannin profile, and the texture of the wine. It can be used in the fermentation or aging periods or as a few floating chips or staves added to wine fermented in a vessel like stainless steel. Oak barrels can also impart other qualities through evaporation and low level exposure to oxygen. The porous nature of an oak barrel allows evaporation and oxygenation to occur in the wine but typically not at levels that would cause oxidation or spoilage.

The typical 225 liter (59 gallon) barrel allows the wine to concentrate it’s flavor and aroma compounds. Also small amounts of oxygen are allowed to pass through the barrel and act as a softening agent upon the wine’s tannins.

American oak used in wine barrels is a white oak from the species Quercus alba, which is fast growing and has wider grains and less wood tannins. This oak is found in most of the eastern United States, with Tennessee being one of the top suppliers. French oak uses common oak, Quercus robur, or white oak, Quercus petraea, but the latter is considered far superior for it’s finer grain and richer contribution of aromatic components like vanillin and its derivatives. American oak tends to be more intensely flavored than French oak due to having two to four times more lactones. Winemakers choose American oak typically for bold, powerful reds and for warm climate Chardonnays. The wider grain in the American oak allows more oxygen to interact with the wine than the tighter grained French oak. The French oak generates silky and transparent tannins, which transmits a sensation of light sweetness combined with fruity flavors that persist in the mouth.

A barrel can also either be toasted or untoasted. The toasting adds vanilla and spice character to French oak and coconut character to American oak. Also the level of toasting can vary which creates different character to the barrel.

A barrel made from American oak can cost $600-800, while a barrel made of French oak can cost $1200 or more.

Think about which oak is used in the wine you are drinking and what characteristics is has contributed to it.

Cheers!!!!

2013 Kirkland Signature Columbia Valley Rec

The Kirkland Signature Columbia Valley Red has a blend that is very close to a Bordeaux blend, with Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah.
You can usually depend on the Costco Signature Series of wines to be decent values …… and this is not an exception. After aging 15 months in French Oak this is a very smooth, polished performer. It starts with some pepper and anise combined with cherry and blackberry fruit overtones along with some interesting depth and finishes with some oakiness. If you drink this wine over several days you will see it to continue to evolve with notes of leather and a longer, smoother finish. This wine is said to be produced by Dolan and Weiss Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington by winemaker Giles Nicault. Grab this wine for some excellent springtime tastings! Priced at $16.99 this wine is a must for your cellar.

Cheers!