Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kirland Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County 2013

My opinions of this wine have varied considerably in recent years.  I was not impressed with the 2011 vintage but I really liked the 2012.  That made some sense because the 2011 season was not
considered a great year for Cabernet in Napa but 2012 was really good.  Now, the 2013 version is on the shelves at Costco and 2013 was another highly regarded season in Napa.

The Kirkland Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County 2013 promised good things when I opened the bottle.  The aroma filled the air without even pouring it into the glass.  When I tasted the wine, it was very pleasant initially but by the time I was ready to swallow, the taste had soured slightly.  I just did not have a totally pleasing experience.  An hour later, I could not say that it improved.  The wine is ok but there are better choices.

SC Wine Joe rating = 87 points

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville 2011

Recently, I wrote about the very enjoyable Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville 2013.  Now Trader Joe's is selling a Platinum Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville 2011 for $14.99.    Obviously, we have to compare the two wines.

Both wines are lightly oaked rich wines with fruit forward tastes of dark berries finishing with moderate tannins.  I have to say that the less expensive, Grand Reserve had more intense fruit flavors and was more enjoyable than the Platinum Reserve.   Perhaps, it was due to the better Napa Valley growing season in 2013 than in 2011. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Friday, November 13, 2015

Markstone Pinot Noir Carneros 2013

Pinot Noir is a Thanksgiving tradition at our house and Trader Joe's is featuring several Pinot Noirs in their current "wine insider" e-mail.  One of the more interesting selections is the Markstone Pinot Noir Carneros. 

Carneros, in the southern portion of Napa County and Sonoma County, just north of San Pablo Bay near San Francisco, is noted for a distinctive style of Pinot Noir.  The cool foggy climate imparts a special flavor to the grapes.  When I tasted the Markstone Pinot Noir I knew it was from Carneros without even reading the label.

In the glass, this wine is lighter in color than some Pinot Noir.  The color is consistent with the cherry and strawberry flavors in the initial taste.  The wine finishes with some oak and earthiness making it more complex than first expected.  This well balanced wine will be a nice accompaniment to your holiday turkey or ham.  The wine has 14.5% alcohol and costs $10.99 at Trader Joe's.

I have now tried the Markstone Merlot and Pinot Noir.  Both have been excellent.  If you are a Trader Joe's fan, you will want to pay attention to wines from Markstone.

SC Wine Joe rating - 89 points

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Trader Joe's Platinum Grand Reserve Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2013 Lot 33

Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer came out today and is featuring wines for Thanksgiving.  There is an emphasis on Pinot Noir and the e-version features more wines than the print version, although all of the wines in the e-version were not available today in my local store.  A wine featured in both the e-version and the print version is the Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Lot 33.

The Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve wines all sell  for $14.99 and most have been outstanding.  They are limited production and often are sold out in a few days.  I think you should make a special trip to Trader Joe's to buy this wine.

The Russian River Valley is the northern portion of Sonoma County from Santa Rosa north to Healdsburg.  It features a cool climate that is affected by morning fog, due to its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean.  The Russian River Valley is noted for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  When we visited this area, we found that the wineries were very visitor friendly compared to wineries in Napa and the southern portions of Sonoma.

Trader Joe's Lot 33 Pinot Noir is definitely a smooth, dry wine.  It has less cherry fruit and more dark berries than a typical Pinot Noir.  The best aspect is the long lasting finish.  I was tasting this wine long after we finished the bottle.  The tannins are present but not overpowering.  All in all, this is a great Pinot Noir and is a value at $15.

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2013

I recently enjoyed the 2013 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot, so I decided to try the 2013 Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine is actually a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Syrah and 2% other varietals.  The wine is barrel aged in 30% new oak for approximately 10 months and has an alcohol content of 13.5%.  In my area, Total Wines and More sells this wine for $7.47 and Costco prices it at $7.99.

The first thing you will notice about this wine is the dark color.  The color and the aroma of dark fruit tell you this is a rich, dry, full bodied wine.  The taste confirms this and it finishes with a hint of chocolate and moderate tannins.  This is a wine to pair with red pasta or grilled meat.

I was impressed with this wine and it is a great buy for under $8.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot 2013

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot from 2012 has been my most purchased wine in the past year.   It was wine that I rated at 89 points (some readers of this blog rated it even higher) and I could buy it for under $7 at either Costco or Total Wines and More.  I credited the fantastic 2012 vintage year for red wines in the Columbia Valley for much of the success of this great wine value.  Now, we have to move on since the 2013 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot is on the store shelves.  The 2013 vintage for red wines in the Columbia Valley is another great vintage,- rated far above average, but not as superb as 2012. 

The 2013 Grand Estates Merlot is again a rich flavored, full bodied Merlot.  It is a very deep dark color.   Besides the usual dark berry flavor, there is licorice and a little cola.  This is an outstanding wine, even better than 2012 and the price is still $6.99 at Costco.  I will buy a lot of this in the next year!

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points