Saturday, March 29, 2014

Costco Opportunity Alert! Vina Eguia Rioja Reserva 2007

Earlier this week I wrote about the spring Costco wine sale and added that I would buy Eguia Rioja while it was on sale for $2 off.  I did bring a bottle home and today when I opened the bottle I noticed that it was the 2007 vintage.  I could not believe my eyes!

The 2007 Vina Eguia Rioja was released about 2 years ago and received much acclaim.  Both Robert Parker and Wine Enthusiast rated the wine at 92 points.  When Costco had the wine for $9.99, it was seen as a great buy.  I have seen the 2009 vintage selling online for $15.

When I opened the bottle, about 30 minutes before drinking, I knew by the bouquet that I was going to love this wine.  The taste lived up to the preview, exhibiting earth, cola, spice and oak.  However this wine was stored for the past 2 years only enhanced its flavor.  This is the best wine I have tasted recently.

If you find the 2007 vintage of this wine for $7.99 at your Costco, you should stock up.  I plan to go back and buy more.

SC Wine Joe rating = 93

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fadeaway Chardonnay 2012 Santa Maria Valley

Recently, I sampled the Fadeaway Pinot Noir from Trader Joe's.  I liked it so much that I went back and purchased the Fadeaway Chardonnay.  This Chardonnay is from the Santa Maria Valley, which is in northern Santa Barbarra County and in San Luis Obispo County.  This is a funnel shaped valley opening west to the Pacific.  Sea fog moves into the valley over night and stays to mid-day creating a cool environment for the grapes.  A long growing season and little rainfall gives the grapes extensive time to build flavor on the vine.

The bottle says that this chardonnay recalls pear tart patin, white peaches, flowers and vanilla bean.  Now, a wine joe has no idea what any of that means, but I tasted citris, peach and grapefruit with just the right amount of oak.  I really enjoyed this chardonnay and I will buy some more. 

The wine has 13.8% A.C. which is above average for a white wine and costs $8.99 at Trader Joes(in 12 states including California it is $7.99).  If lightly oaked chardonnay is your style (it is mine) this should go into your grocery cart.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Costco Spring Wine Sale

Costco began their spring wine sale today.  The sale lasts until April 19.   16 wines are reduced  from $1.50 to $6.00.   At my Costco, a couple of wines did not seem to be in stock.  Maybe they will appear before the end of the sale.  I purchased the Brancott Sauvignon Blanc and the Vina Eguia Rioja Reserva Tempranillo ($2 off both).  I have previously had both of those wines and enjoyed them.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Trader Joes Reserve Zinfandel Paso Robles 2012 Lot 84

When you think of Zinfandel, Paso Robles may not be the first region in California to come to mind.  However, the hot days and cool nights along with well drained soils are well suited to Zinfandel vines and Paso Robles produces a lot of well balanced Zin. 

The latest Trader Joes Fearless Flyer features the 2012 Paso Robles Reserve Zinfandel.  The flyer says the grapes are estate grown on land of the winemakers, which the bottle identifies as Familia Nueva Vineyards, Creston Ca.  Of course, this is a name used to hide the real producers, which some say is Ancient Peaks Winery.  The bottle states the wine has juicy raspberry, boysenberry and black cherry notes leading to vanilla, oak and spice notes with a smooth jammy finish.  My wife, our friends and I thought this was a good description.  We found the wine to be not as big and heavy as some zins but more substantial than other zins.  The wine has 14.5% A.C. and the alcohol did not overpower the fruit.  At $9.99, we judged the wine to be an excellent value.  I expect this wine to be available for only a few weeks.  The wine would pair nicely with the pizza also featured in this months flyer.

SC Wine Joe Rating = 88

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2012 Kirkland Signature Rutherford Napa Valley Meritage

Last December 21,  I posted my thoughts about the 2010 Kirkland Signature Napa Valley Meritage.  In that post, I discussed the red blends from the USA called Meritage.  If the term is unknown to you, please look at the earlier post.

Each year,  Costco produces two Meritage blends from the Napa Valley.  The 2012 Rutherford Napa Valley is in the store now.  This wine is a blend of 58% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Malbec with an A.C. of 14.9%.  The Kirkland Rutherford Napa Valley is produced by Mario Diguilio and Glenn Hugo of Vintage Wine Estates, a group of 8 family wineries based out of Santa Rosa, California. 

The Rutherford AVA is part of the larger Napa Valley AVA.  It is known for its unique volcanic influenced soil laced with gravel, sand and loam.  The winemakers note deep concentrated black cherry notes, surrounded by ripe black currant, cinamon and sweet oak spice. 

I like the 2012 Rutherford Meritage even better than the 2010 Napa Valley Meritage.  Both wines have the softness of merlot enhanced by the flavor of the Cabernet Sauvignon, but the Rutherford Meritage has its flavor further enhanced with Petit Verdot, which makes it special.  The Rutherford Meritage is $13.99 at Costco and it is well worth the price.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Friday, March 14, 2014

2011 Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon All Time Best Buy

Last year at this time, Costco sold the 2011 Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon for $6.59.  It earned praise as a great value at that price, even called "one of the best bargains" ever found at Costco.
Well, today at our local Costco(Greenville, SC), I found this same wine, even the same vintage(2011) for $3.97.  Yes, $3.97!  If you liked it last year for $6.59, you have to love it for under $4.  I have been blogging about the great values from Argentina due to that country's economic problems and currency devaluation, but this is the best yet.

This is a wine with dark berry flavors, but softer, smooth tannins.  It may be simple, but it is very good.  It has an A.C. of 13.5% and the grapes are said to be grown in a sustainable manner.   If it is available to you at this price, you should stock up.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fadeaway Pinot Noir 2012 Monterey County @ Trader Joe's

Central Coast Wine Warehouse produces or  bottles wines under various brand names, many which end up at Trader Joe's.  This pinot noir is one of those.  We know that the grapes are grown in Monterey County California. We cannot say anything about the fermenting process, only that it was bottled by Central Coast Wine Warehouse.

An online search of blogs, results in negative opinions about previous vintages of this pinot.  However, I really enjoyed the 2012 version.  Monterey County has a climate that is suited to growing pinot noir grapes and this wine comes through with an A.C. of 14.5%.  Although it may not be the most complex wine, the fruit and rose pedal flavors are enjoyable from nose to taste to finish.  It is only $8.99 at Trader Joe's and I plan to buy some more.

SC Wine Joe Rating = 88

Friday, March 7, 2014

19 Crimes 2012 Red Wine

Some wineries boost sales of their wines by adding a cute picture to the label, giving the wine a cute name (this often involves some critter or fish) or pairing the wine or winery with some interesting story, which may be fact or purely fiction.  Australian wineries are very adept at this.  19 Crimes is based on the story about England sending convicts, who committed one or more crimes from a list of 19, to Australia, rather than to death.  The convicts help forge the new country.

The 19 Crimes Red Wine from south eastern Australia is mostly shiraz blended with lesser amounts of pinot noir, granache, and cabernet sauvignon.  It has an A.C. of 13.0%. 

Wine Spectator rated this wine at 89 points, but I do not agree.  The wine was far too sweet and even syrupy to me.  This is going in our next pasta sauce!  If you like sweet red wine, you could try it.  It is $8.99 at Costco.

SC Wine Joe rating=84

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Tale of Two Malbecs

In January, the Argentine peso plunged 20% in value and citizens lined up to trade pesos for the American dollar. One result is, there has never been a better time for American consumers to buy Malbec.

Last week, I reviewed the 2011 Mendoza Vineyards Fairhills 1907 Malbec, which I really liked and rated at a score of 90 points.  This was an exceptional value for a wine costing $7.99 at Costco.

Today, we review the 2012 Piedra Negra Malbec Alta Coleccion from Mendoza.  This 100% Malbec wine is grown in semi desert conditions in the foothills of the Andes.  It was mechanically harvested and aged 5 to 6 months.  It has an A.C. of 13.5%.  It has some taste of ripe fruit and hints of pepper.

My opinion is that the wine lacks complexity and flavor and I was disappointed.  Costco says this wine is regularly $12.99 but currently it is reduced to $9.99.  I have researched the wine online and it is usually sold for less than $12.99, often at $9.99.  This is not the usual Costco good deal!

Skip the Piedra Negra Malbec and buy the Fairhills 1907 Malbec instead, or pay a little more and buy the Norton Reserva Malbec!

SC Wine Joe Rating for Piedra Malbec=86