Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kirkland Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2013

Chateauneuf-du-Pape means the "new castle of the Pope" and this village in the southern Rhone area of southeast France was the home of the papacy in the early 1300's.  Today, the area is best known for the wine from the appellation that includes the village and surrounding areas.  A Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine can include 13 varieties of grapes but must be predominately Grenache.

The Kirkland Chateauneuf-du-Pape is produced by Domaine de Nalys.  Their wines are highly regarded and typically sell in the US in the $30 to $40 range.  Since the Kirkland version sells for $20, it sells out quickly.

The Kirkland Chateauneuf-du-Pape  contains Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise and Mouvedre grapes and has an alcohol content of 14.5%.  The wine is delicious and can be sensed throughout the mouth.  I tasted black fruit, cedar and spice.  The finish is very long with medium tannins.  I recommend that you try at least one bottle while it is available.

SC Wine Joe rating = 92 points

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Briego Ribera Del Duero Crianza 2009

I was shopping at Costco a few weeks ago and found a large display of the 2009 Briego Crianza with the price reduced from $17.59 to $13.99.  I was not familiar with the wine but the age, alcohol (14%) and region looked interesting and I purchased one bottle.  On my next trips to Costco, the wine was no longer at the sale price.

Ribera Del Duero is one of the great wine regions in the world.  It is located in the Northern Plateau of Spain, centered on the Duero River.  The word Crianza on the label signifies that it has spent a minimum of 12 months in oak barrels.  In fact, this wine spent 14 months in used American and French barrels before bottling.

This is a silky, smooth, full bodied wine with flavors of black and red cherry, raspberry and smoke.  The finish is long lasting with subtle oak.  I think this is one of the best Spanish wines I have tasted in the past year.

The 2009 Briego Crianza  has been in the bottle for a while.  It was reviewed by Robert Parker back in February 2013.  I am not sure if you can cellar this wine more than a year, so you should just drink it and enjoy.  If Costco puts this back on sale, I plan to stock up.

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points

Saturday, May 23, 2015

2012 Fairview Pinotage

Pinotage is the signature red wine grape of South Africa.  It was created in 1925 as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault (also known as Hermitage).  Early wines made from this grape were pungent and undesirable.  Today wine making procedures have eliminated that problem and the often smoky, earthy wines are highly regarded.  Most Pinotage is grown in South Africa but a small amount is grown in California and Virginia.

Fairview Farm in South Africa is known for production of both wine and cheese and has been owned by the Back family since 1937.  Goats roam freely on the farm and the signature landmark of the estate is a tower that the goats climb.  Fairview is most commonly known in the United States for their "Goats do Roam" moderately priced wines.

The Fairview Pinotage is deep purple in color with tastes of dark fruit, spice and a little smoke.  The finish is long with well blended tannins.  The wine has 14% alcohol and costs $16.99 at Total Wine and More. ( I paid less using a coupon.)

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Kirkland Signature Series 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Costco's Signature Series wines have been priced above Costco's usual Signature wines, but are great values for the superior quality of the wines.  The latest is the Signature Series 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

The Willamette Valley Oregon, stretching south from Portland to Eugene, lies east of the Oregon Coastal Range and west of the Cascade Range. It is an area that has cool, wet winters and dry summers.  It is cooler than California and is noted for some of the best Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in the world.  The Kirkland Signature Series Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is produced by  Precept Wine which we have encountered previously in our reviews of Pendulum and Shingleback wines.  You can also find Precept at Costco in the House Wine and Canoe Ridge labels.

I found this wine to be very ordinary for a Pinot Noir, with no distinctive aroma, color, flavor or finish.  It is very drinkable with no obvious flaws but not worth the extra cost.  Recently we have reviewed several Pinot Noirs from Costco and Trader Joe's that were better values.  The wine has 12.8% alcohol and sells for $14.99.

SC Wine Joe rating = 87 points

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kirkland Signature Chianti Classico Reserva 2011

Chianti Classico is a region in Tuscany and the wine bearing that regional name must be at least 80% Sangiovese and be aged in oak for at least 24 months.  A Chianti Classico wine will always have the famous rooster symbol on the bottle.

The Kirkland Chianti Classico Reserva is 100% Sangiovese  and has benn aged 24 months in second year French oak barrels and 5 to 6 months in the bottle before release.  The wine is medium body but intense dark red color.  The flavor is ripe dark cherry.  It is dry and acidic in flavor, which I certainly realized when I followed a glass of this wine with another familiar wine that seemed sweet for the first time.

I think this is an excellent example of a Chianti Classico wine.  The Sangiovese has a distinct flavor that just seems perfect to pair with a garlic red tomato sauce.  This wine has a richer, stronger flavor than the average Chianti Classico and you can enjoy it now or keep it for future enjoyment.  The wine has 13.5% alcohol and Costco sells it for $8.69, which is a great price.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Saturday, May 9, 2015

2013 Kirkland Signature Columbia Valley Merlot

Last year, I reviewed the 2012 vintage of Costco's Kirkland Signature Columbia Valley Merlot. After two bottles,  I stated that it had a rich initial taste with a big tannin finish and could substitute for Cabernet to accompany grilled steak.  I then rated it at 87 points and did not try it again.

The 2013 KS Columbia Valley Merlot is now in my store and I again purchased two bottles.  After the first bottle, I thought that perhaps I underrated the wine last year or that the 2013 was better than the 2012 version.  Last night I finished a bottle of one of my favorite Merlots from the Columbia Valley and then opened the second bottle of 2013 KS Columbia Valley Merlot.  I have to say that on that one night I enjoyed the Kirkland Merlot better.  I still would say that it has a rich initial taste with an oaky tannin finish but this time I think the finish was an asset not a negative.  The wine has an alcohol content of 14.5% and is priced at $8.99. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points

                                                          Glass from RayLen Winery
                                                          Yadkin Valley, North Carolina

Saturday, May 2, 2015

La Granja 360 Verdejo Viura

The May 2015 Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer is featuring La Granja Verdejo Viura for $4.99.   This is a dry white wine from the Castilla y Leon region of North Central Spain and is made of 70% Verdejo and 30% Viura grapes.  The wine is straw yellow in color with a appealing citrus aroma.  The wine has flavors of lemon and grapefruit which makes it perfect for late afternoon summer patio enjoyment.  The alcohol content of this wine is only 12%, so you can have an extra glass without feeling too guilty. You can enjoy this without food, but it would enhance any grilled fish.  I really enjoyed this wine and the price is right.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Cabernet Oakville Napa Valley 2013 Lot #64

Last December I wrote about the Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon and you may wonder why I am reviewing this wine so soon.  The fact is, this is a different wine.  This wine has a different Lot number and a different vintage.  From my notes, I cannot say if it is the same vintner or not.  This wine is featured in Trader Joe's May 2015 Fearless Flyer (at least in this portion of the country) and is said to be 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

I had great hopes for this wine since the Platinum Label Reserve wines from Trader Joe's have all been wonderful values.  The nose from this wine was adequate but not exceptional.  The color was a rich, deep violet which promised great flavor.  The taste was soft for a Cabernet and just a little sweet.  Dark berries are prominent but the finish is very weak and ordinary.  This is a very good wine but I do not think it is an exceptional Cabernet since all of the flavors of an outstanding Cabernet are just not present.  The alcohol content is 13.5%.  All of the Platinum Label Trader Joe's wines are $14.99.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points