Tag Archives: Costco


Now that we are blessed with the occasional sunny and warm afternoon, I find myself starting to move towards the lighter reds and heavier whites.  I have always been a seasonal wine drinker, for the most part, sipping on whites throughout the summer and almost only drinking the big reds when it’s uncomfortably cold outside.  So, what I want lately is a big white with some body and oomph to it.2014 Matchbook “The Arsonist” California Chardonnay

If The Arsonist bottle isn’t a clear enough indicator of the style of wine that’s inside, perhaps the bold label and name are.  The bottle is heavy, with a deep punt, wide body, and thick lip.  I love the bottle.

I love the wine as well.  This 100% chardonnay from the Dunnigan Hills AVA is golden yellow with slow legs. The nose brings honeysuckle, Bartlett Pear, coconut, and toast.  I immediately noticed the smooth and round body, soft on the palate with pineapple, melon, and honey.

There is a nice undertone of minerality in the wine as well, creating balance so that it isn’t an oak/butter bomb.  The finish is coating and creamy with good length and a very subtle smokiness. I would pair this with shrimp alfredo, rotisserie chicken, or grilled salmon. I tried it with a slice of almond pound cake which I think worked very well. The sweetness of the cake really brought out the subtle minerality of the wine.

Frequent stirring of the lees, known as bâtonnage, is what gives this wine the smooth and creamy roundness that I so enjoyed (along with malolactic fermentation, of course, but that’s another post).  Lees are a by-product of fermentation, specifically when yeast cells are destroyed by autolysis.  These cell particles precipitate in the bottom of wine vats while aging, and are sometimes left to rest so that the wine can age “on the lees,” or sur lie in order to extract yeasty aromas and flavors.

Other times, winemakers will frequently stir these lees in order to extract more flavor and to create the creamy, buttery mouthfeel.  If you like this quality in a wine, look for “lees” somewhere in the wine description.  This is one method that some Pinot gris Producers in Oregon use in order to make a different style of wine from the grape than you would typically find in Italy, where it is known as Pinot Grigio instead.

Wine Enthusiast gives this wine 91 points and an “Editor’s Choice” designation.  Vivino users rate it 3.9 out of 5 points with an average price of $22.

Cost: $14.99

Krunch Rating: 90 points


Costco SKU #: 1135136


2015 True Grit Reserve Cabernet SauvignonWhen I first noticed this wine in my local Costco club, I read the name and immediately pictured Josh Brolin’s face. You may remember that he played an antagonist in the Revisionist Western Film by the Cohen Brothers, True Grits. I can’t say for sure if the wine and the movie are related, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed both.

This is a “Reserve” Cabernet from Mendocino that has been aged for around one year in oak barrels, 30% of which are new French Oak. A minute amount of Petit Verdot (2%) was added, likely to boost the color of the wine.

On the nose I picked up vanilla, blue fruits, cola, and cedar. The palate was full and rich with baking spice, black cherries, and a subtle hint of black pepper. There was a good balance in the body of sugar to alcohol while the oak tannins were prominent in this younger wine. You can always detect oak tannins when the area under your upper lip feels like sandpaper against your two front teeth (grape tannins are felt more on the back of the tongue). I think that in a few years these tannins will mellow a bit.

This wine is currently a $12.99 super-value in the Costco stores that I have seen it (many stores are currently carrying the ’14 vintage too). Vivino users report an average price of around $20 and the wine is listed at even higher than that when ordered directly from the Parducci Website. While Vivino subscribers give it an average rating of 3.7, Wine Enthusiast designated it a “Cellar Selection” and gave it a score of 91. I give this wine an 89. At this price point, I will definitely be lassoing another bottle before it’s all sold out.

14.5% ABV
Krunch Rating: 90 points
Costco SKU #: 1029458


2015 Daou Paso Cabernet SauvignonI was excited to see the 2015 in the wood a couple of weeks ago.  When I say “in the wood,” I mean in the wooden bins located next to the aisles of wine at Costco, which usually feature higher-priced swill.  My first thought after seeing this wine, however, was “2015, that’s young.”  I think more wine makers are moving towards releasing wines sooner that are more approachable and ready to drink now.

This is a deep and dark, in-your-face Paso Robles wine.  On the nose, I detected gingerbread, root-beer, and cola.  The tannins are reserved, probably from less oak, in order to let the fruit shine.  While the wine was a pleasure to drink, I felt at this stage in its life that it lacked the focus and complexity I was looking for.  I would love to taste this wine again in a few years to see if things have gotten a little happier and more in sync since then.  For now, subtle flavors of cooked berries and mocha fight to balance the alcohol.

This wine is one that will divide wine drinkers.  I like my wines with a little bit of age and with generous tannins, generally speaking, because I like what happens with time as the wines evolve into more harmonious and complex juices that are less fruit-forward.  Others will prefer to drink this wine now, in its youth, because of the smooth and simple bold fruit flavors.  Vivino users give this a 4.0 rating, which means most people who have rated it on Vivino have loved it.  I am confident to recommend this wine to anyone looking for New World cabs in the $20 price range.

This vintage has not been rated by Wine Spectator, but Vinous gave it a healthy 91 points.  Daou currently retails for $22.99 at my local Costco club, and is available online through various websites for around the $25 mark.

Krunch Rating: 88 points

Costco item number: 609714


2013 Decoy Sonoma County Red WineDecoy is the second label for Duckhorn and they are generally a safe bet if you’re looking for good wines at a fair price.  This red blend, made from grapes harvested across 16 different Sonoma vineyards, hits the mark and does so for $16.99, which is a healthy discount from the wine’s $25 retail price tag.

The blend has a bit of almost every grape you can imagine.  Here’s how it breaks down: 25% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Zinfandel, 15% Cabernet Franc, 11% Petite Sirah, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec. So like me, you’re probably what it all tastes like.  It pours a medium dark in the glass and the nose is slightly smoky with some baking spice.  Flavors of blackberry and boysenberry, with some black licorice and vanilla.  Finish is long. Overall, I sound this to be a good package for the price.

Duckhorn bills Decoy wines as the “everyday wines for the well informed.”  That’s a great line and really applies in this case. This is a nice step up from your average $10-$15 reds.

Krunch Rating: 89 Points

Costco item number: 889077


2011 Ronan by Clinet BordeauxThe Costco stores near me often times sneak in these $8-$15 Bordeaux wines in the cheap seats (the wines stacked in the aisles, not the wood boxes), and they have been really hit or miss for me in the past. But this one is a definite hit for only $9.99.

This wine is earthy on the nose, floral with a little vanilla and spice. Medium body in the mouth, nice light mouthfeel; flavors of ripe red fruit, black cherry, a little bell pepper even and some anise; the wine is chalky, and finishes bone dry in the mouth with lingering pepper and spice.

I really like this one at this price point.  It’s 100% Merlot and old world in style.  This is an easy drinking wine, and a good volume buy for a party.  Just keep dumping these in the decanter and serve them and you’ll have your guests thinking you spent a lot more than $10 a bottle.

I’m encouraging you to added it to your “Must Try List” as it’s a very nice wine for only $10 and one of those examples of why you should buy wine at Costco – to find gems like this.  This wine is made by Chateau Clinet, a well respected Pomerol producer, although they source the grapes for this wine from various appellations in Bordeaux.

Krunch Rating: 90 Points

Costco item number: 919653


2015 Bocelli Tenor Red Toscana IGTThese Super Tuscans that Costco carries are almost always good buys and that’s why I dropped this $12.99 bottle in the cart. It turned out to be exactly what I expected, maybe even a step up from expectations, as it’s a perfect, every day red to have on hand for almost any cuisine, any time of the week, to drink with pretty much anybody.

In this price range, I prefer this style over wines such as the Napa County Kirkland Cab. that we just reviewed for the same price, but much of that can be personal preferences in old world vs new world.  I find the European wines from Italy, Spain and France to generally be more interesting and more complex than their US counterparts when you’re searching for wines under $15.  This bottle is a case in point.

The wine is comprised of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Sangiovese, and 33% Merlot, a pretty standard Super Tuscan mix. Dusty, earthy, dried fruit on the nose, dark fruit flavor in the mouth, with plum, blackberry, cherry cola, a touch of leather and oak towards the finish. A rather elegant wine for the money actually, and one that developed quite nicely with a little air.

Krunch Rating: 89 points

Costco item number: 1127289