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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Most wine drinkers may have heard of 14 Hands Wine ……. but Two Hands Wine ……. never heard of it! Well you should get to know wines from this awesome winery in Australia. Two Hands was established in 1999 with the aim of making the best possible Shiraz based wines. “Two Hands” refers to the very personable approach taken with each parcel of grapes, no matter how big or small. Quality without compromise is the core value of Two Hands. With grapes that are grown in the Barossa Valley and Clare Valley areas of South Australia, Two Hands has accomplished their goal. Having been named in 2012 to Wine Spectator’s Top 100 for the 10th consecutive year is an achievement that has not been equalled by any other Winery in the world.
Costco FO carries two Two Hands wines: Two Hands Shiraz and Two Hands Sexy Beast Cabernet.
The “Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon has a dark red color with aromas of red currant, bay leaf, juniper, and graphite with a finish that is round, yet fine and defined. This medium bodied is brimming with lovely fruit density with notes of red currant, black cherry, and plum leads to the beautiful finish with secondary notes of bay leaf, wet clay, and chocolate! Priced at $25.99 at Costco FO this is a wine that is worth enjoying for that special meal!
The Two Hands Bella’s Garden Shiraz is one awesome wine. It is dark red with a purple hue with aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate, baking spices, hung meats, lavender, and pipe smoke. The fruits crashes and cascades across all corners of the palate as only a Barossa Shiraz can. Deep notes of blackberry, chocolate, spices and smoked meats are complemented by floral notes of lavender and potpourri!! Aged for 15 months in new French oak hogshead, with 16% new and the remainder in older oak. This wine is un-fined and unfiltered. Priced at Costco FO at $59.99 is well worth your investment!!!
Both these wines are rated in the 90’s by Wine Spectator.
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.
Leathery, fresh tobacco aromatics and flavors of juicy blueberry, black cherry, and mineral driven notes are supported by refined silky tannins in this beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon. The finish is rich and lingering, and while it is drinkable now, it will continue to improve with age over the next few years. This wine is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Syrah. It is aged 23 months in 25% new oak. This Columbia Valley Reserve is a wonderful complement to grilled meats or prime rib.
The Waterbrook Reserve is available at the FO Costco at $17.99 and is well worth the investment for that special meal. This wine is priced in the range of $22 – $25 at other outlets.