Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kirkland Signature Columbia Valley Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Costco has had this Kirkland Signature Columbia Valley Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon in stock for several weeks.  Since there are so many choices and so little time, I am just now getting around to trying it.  This wine is 78% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Columbia Valley.  Because the wine exceeds 75% Merlot, they could have labeled this as Columbia Valley Merlot, but Costco already has another wine called Columbia Valley Merlot and they designated this as Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine is 14.9% alcohol.

The bottle identifies Joshua Maloney as the winemaker.  Maloney is the Director of Winemaking for Milbrant Vineyards as well as owner of Maloney Wines.  He began in the winemaking business in the Finger Lakes of New York, then to California and later to Columbia Valley with Chateau Ste. Michelle.

The wine begins softly with juicy dark fruit and a hint of mocha. It finishes with some oak and medium tannins.  The wine is very good but I would prefer just a little lighter fruit as well as the dark fruit in the initial sip.  All in all this is an above average Merlot for a below average price ($8.99) and it will pair well with red meat.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lagranja Garnacha Rose 2015

Rose' is a great summertime treat and Trader Joe's has a lot of great choices from all over the world.  I recently have enjoyed a couple of Trader Joe's Rose's  from France, so I thought I might try a low cost Spanish Rose'.

Lagranja is a rose' of Granacha grapes from Carinena Spain.  Immediately, you notice that the color is a darker pink than many rose's.  The second thing you notice is the wonderful floral aroma coming from the glass.  However, the wine does not live up to the appealing nose.  I found it to be a little syrupy with limited flavor and I drank most of the bottle but never finished it.   You might consider this wine if you are making Sangria since it only costs about $5. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 85 points

Monday, June 20, 2016

Seven Rings Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll District 2014

In early April, I purchased a bottle of Seven Rings Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley 2014 at Total Wines and More.  I believe it is one of their "Winery Direct" wines and they usually price it at $27.99.  However, on that day, this wine was reduced to $21.99 as a weekend special and I also had a coupon so my final price was $17.67.

I finally opened my $28 bottle of wine.  2014 was another great vintage in Napa, just like the two previous years and I have previously described how the cooler nights and fog in Oak Knoll result in softer, flavorful Cabernet and Merlot.  With great anticipation, I began my tasting of the wine.  The wine begins with lush dark berries.  The initial taste is great.  However, I found the finish to be a little harsh and medium lasting.  Maybe it would improve with age.

This wine is satisfactory at $17.67 but I would not want to pay $28 for it.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Canoe Ridge Reserve Cherry Street Red Blend 2012

Every once in a while, Costco beats the competition so badly that you wonder if there is something wrong.  The Canoe Ridge Cherry Street Red Blend is one of those times.  I checked the Total Wines and More website for our Greenville SC store and found this wine for $21.99 after I bought it at Costco for $12.99. One must wonder how it can be $9 more at the big box wine store.

This wine is a blend of 58% Syrah, 33% Merlot and 9% Malbec from Horse Heaven Hills in the Columbia Valley of Washington.  It is aged 20 months in French Oak, 33% new and 67% used and has an alcohol content of 14.2%. 

The wine has a great aroma of raspberries and cherries with flavors of black cherry and cola.  I have read other reviews online and nobody mentions cola, but that is what it tastes like to me!  This is a great tasting wine and I strongly recommend it!

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2013

My local Costco wine department is selling this Cotes du Rhone Red for $9.49.  I am a fan of wines from the Cotes du Rhone region of France and usually find them to be good quality wine for a reasonable price,

Like all red wines from Cotes du Rhone, this wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre.  (When California wineries make wine in the Cotes du Rhone style, they often label it as GSM since they cannot use the French region name.)  The wine is aged for 3 months in both stainless and oak.  As you would expect, the wine is medium bodied with soft tannins.  I found the wine to be fruity with licorice and mineral tones.  This is a good everyday wine which will pair with pork, pizza, burgers and pasta.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Merlot Napa Valley Oak Knoll District 2014 Lot #74

In the wine section of Trader Joe's, I always search first for the Grand Reserve and Platinum Reserve wines.  While these are the most expensive Trader Joe's wines, they are clearly the best and the price is usually a huge bargain for the quality.  This week, I found the Grand Reserve Merlot from the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley.

The Oak Knoll District is in the southernmost end of the Napa Valley floor, just north of the Town of Napa and south of Yountville.  Being at the southern end, it is in closer proximity to San Pablo Bay, thus the cooling fog and breezes create a cooler, more moderate climate than regions to the north.  The warm spring and cool summer result in a longer growing season.  The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Oak Knoll are typically softer and silkier than from the northern regions.

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Merlot Oak Knoll is a deep purple, rich blend of dark fruit, minerality and licorice flavors.  The pleasure begins in the aroma and follows all the way to the long lasting finish.  The tanins are soft but structured.  I would not hesitate to pay much more for this wine and I am surprised that Trader Joe's does not market this as a Platinum Grand Reserve wine.

SC Wine Joe rating = 92 points

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

J.L. Quinson Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rose 2014

Trader Joe's carries two different Rose's by J.L. Quinson from the Provence coastal region of southeast France,- Cotes de Province Rose and Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rose.  The later was in stock on my last trip to the TJ wine department.

Provence, on the Mediterranean coast has made wine for 2600 years and is best known for Rose.
80% of the wine from Cotes de Province and 30% of the wine from Coteaux d'Aix en Province is Rose. 

Since we are experiencing summer weather now in the south, it is a good time to explore blush and rose wine.  The J.L. Quinson Coteaux d'Aix en Provence rose is a blend of Grenache and Cinsault grapes.  The wine is pink salmon colored with floral and tropical aromas.  The wine is dry with flavors of melon and bright berries.  While you can certainly enjoy this wine without food. it is a great wine to have with summertime salads, fruit and even seafood.  The wine is $7.99 and we definitely enjoyed the entire bottle.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points