Tag Archives: COSTCO

Celebrating Holidays or Better Yet Every Day!

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As this years Pumpkin displays turn to harvest motifs with cider, our in-store Halloween candy has changed over to chocolate turkeys and candy canes.

Celebrations are in the air and I have come to realize that the end of the year will soon be upon us.  Of course celebrating with libations shouldn’t only occur once or twice a year. I like to think I celebrate it all whether they be small accomplishments or BIG holidays.

For example just last week Whine and Cheers for Wine passed the 20,000+ visitor mark. This week the well-known California winemaker Michael Martini was nice enough to contact me after being directed to my review of his Louis M. Martini Napa Cabernet.  Yes it’s been a good few weeks and all good reasons to celebrate.

As I went back and reviewed last years holiday post, HARK! The Holidays Approacheth!! I came to realize how much has changed. 2012: I was a Wine Steward spreading my time between a grocery store wine department and their liquor store. 2013: I became a Wine Buyer or better yet a Specialty Beverage Buyer for Whole Foods Market. Regularly teaching classes and planning wine events. I’ve had opportunities to meet wine makers face to face and the good fortune to have my writings shared by wine companies and news agencies on their social media sites.  Yes it’s been a good couple of years; all good reasons to celebrate.

This year I’ve decided to let “the people” pick our top 10 wines for 2013 and the holiday season.  These are the wines that have garnered the most visits and searches at Whine and Cheers. We already know how I feel about these wines. Now you’ll know the wines the public is researching, buying and hopefully celebrating with.

Here you go in no particular order. The Whine and Cheers For Wine Top 10 of 2013 picked by the general wine public. I’ve averaged the top vote getters for the month, quarter and year. Giving a chance to recent reviews that have not had time to garner as many visits as a review posted 9 months ago.   Drum-roll please!!!

Dr Loosen Riesling Just what the Doctor ordered!

Kirkland Signature Bordeaux:  I guess there is something to be said about Costco wine…..

19 Crimes: GUILTY! Great marketing and tasty wine.

Dreaming Tree Crush: The Luck of the Blends. Steve Reeder and Dave Matthews ROCK!

Joel Gott Zinfandel: The 2011 vs. 2009 battle

Chateau Lafitte Marcellin: 2009 Cotes de Bordeaux. 2009 great vintage for Bordeaux.

Winking Owl Vineyards Shiraz: something to be said about Aldi and Trader Joe wines?

Pinot Noir Smackdown: Concannon 2010 Selected Vineyards Pinot Noir

Chateau de Macard Bordeaux Perfect holiday gift wine per the NBC Today Show

Louis M. Martini: 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Go Mike! Martini that is.

A baker’s dozen or runners-up would add these to the list:

Innovacion Torrontes Pinot Grigio Blend: by Argentina’s Santa Julia

HANDS Cabernet Sauvignon: Robertson Valley South Africa

Gran Valle de Niebla Reserve Pinot Noir: Chile

I am glad to see many countries represented on our list; Chile, Argentina, South Africa, USA, France, Australia and Germany!

Speaking of countries, these stats always amaze me, below are the TOP 12 traveling over to this here site for wine information, minus my own USA:

Canada FlagCanada
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom
Germany FlagGermany
Australia FlagAustralia
France FlagFrance
Spain FlagSpain
Philippines FlagPhilippines
Russian Federation FlagRussian Federation
India FlagIndia
Mexico FlagMexico
Denmark FlagDenmark
Netherlands FlagNetherlands

So with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day and New Years Eve around the corner, I wish and hope, that we not only are able to celebrate these obvious big events in our lives but also appreciate and recognize the day-to-day happenings. Events also meant to be shared and noted. All good reasons to celebrate!

¡SALUD! and Happy Holidays

Château Lafitte Marcellin 2009 Côtes de Bordeaux

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Appellation: Côtes de Bordeaux
Varieties: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot.

This wine came via WTSO.com – Wines til Sold Out.  At a cost of $12.00 per bottle including shipping I could not resist this Côtes de Bordeaux or its highly regarded 2009 vintage.  The Château Lafitte Marcellin is also the third 2009 Bordeaux I write about in the last year or so.  First came the Wine Spectator 90 pt. rated 2009  Chateau de Macard Bordeaux Superieur followed by the 87 pt. rated 2010 Kirkland Signature [yes Costco!] 2010 Bordeaux Superieur.

One would think I am on a search for the perfect budget Bordeaux.  In fact I have probably been swayed by raves for the 2009/2010 vintages and am really just looking for good wine.   I’ve lucked out with my three choices thus far.  But at the same time I have not felt the urgent need to return to them either.  I am quickly realizing  my search will just have to continue. Hard work I know.

In the case of the light bodied Château Lafitte Marcellin my opinion is that it is still too young to show its true colors. Upon opening I immediately detected very tight aromas on the nose with slight fruit detectable at first.  This started to change almost immediately from just sweetness to more of a dark fruit scent. But still not powerful or forward at all.  I noted the lack of wood [this wine not aged in wood] and also a mustiness that appeared after about 10 minutes of decanting.

On the palate I noted very dry/tight unripened fruit.  At 40 minutes after decanting; dry fruit became more obvious on the nose with the addition of anise. As we passed the 60-90 minute mark the fruit scents continued to open along with a pepperiness that was not evident before.  But it did not develop much more even after 2 hours. Of course I could have been more patient but at that point there was just no more wine to let breathe :)

My verdict: An additional 2-5 years may tell a different story and luckily once again I have a couple more bottles in my cellar to let sit a spell. This is where I remind myself that patience is still a virtue…   ¡SALUD!

Winemaker information:

This 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot blend is made in
stainless steel tanks with a pre-fermentation maceration lasting
5 days, followed by fermentation for 10 days, under controlled
temperatures. The wine is then aged in vats before being bottled
on the estate.

The 35-acre vineyard of Chateau Lafitte Marcellin is nestled in the heart of rolling hillsides along the Garonne River, in the commune of Soulignac (20 miles SE of Bordeaux), with some plots located right on the slopes. This particular topography allows for maximum sunshine on dry soils with a welcome wind blowing from the banks of the Garonne. Such a micro terroir and its specific alchemy give this Cote de Bordeaux its unique attributes: a deep nose of dark berries, welcome smoothness, vibrant fruit, and firm end-of-mouth tannins.

Not far from the property, in 1946, the “Soulignac treasure” was discovered by a family ancestor. This treasure, discovered on the locality of Marcellin, consisted of a large earthenware pot containing about 65 pounds of bronze and silver coins from the Roman era, bearing the effigy of Roman rulers… They are now to be found in the Bordeaux Musee d’Aquitaine. Local legend has it that the finder cried out: “With such a treasure, we are richer than Laffite!”

Kirkland Signature 2010 Bordeaux Superieur – Costco Wine

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COSTCO Bordeaux Superieur 

Yes it is true; COSTCO wine! No they actually do not make the wine themselves but  have developed relationships with winemakers around the globe. Examples include; France, Italy, Argentina and our own California region. With vast research group information in-hand defining what their customer base enjoys in specific varietals or blends COSTCO negotiates and teams with winemakers to produce a “private label” product for their warehouse type stores.  They are not alone. Sams Club Trader Joe’s and Total Wine & More admittedly also take part in similar practices as does my very own Winn-Dixie grocery store chain.  If done well it is a great way to control pricing and distribution along with providing your product an exclusivity factor because these wines would only be available at your stores.

I hate to admit that I regularly spend one of my two days off checking out the competition nearby; Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Costco and Total Wines & More. Not only am I looking for price comparisons but also products I do not sell and new discoveries to imbibe and share with friends. This is how I discovered the Kirkland Signature 2010 Bordeaux Superieur Gran Vin de Bordeaux. At $6.99, my first foray into Costco wines. I am happy to report that except for COSTCO who’s pricing structure boggles the mind sometimes, Winn-Dixie wines are very competitively priced and usually sale priced lower than the other establishments mentioned.

Label notes:

70% Merlot 30% Cabernet Sauvignon

Chateau Gardera is a fine producer of Bordeaux Superieur wine, an outstanding source for this Kirkland Signature wine.  Bordeaux Superieur an appellation that covers the same area as Bordeaux AOC is known for smaller yields. The property is situated on slopes to the south of St Emilion overlooking the Garonne River. A carefully selected blend was aged 12 months in Allier french oak barrels creating a luscious well balanced and easy drinking wine that exudes finesse   The high quality fruit has aromas of ripe cherries  black currant berries and subtle toasted notes which flow to a generous palate and silky tannin’s. Drink now through 2016.

My notes:

Garnet in color, the following aromas on the nose were detected upon decanting; red ripe fruit, tobacco, oak and a richness to it as it opened. Smooth medium tannins were noted along with the fact that it was drinkable straight out of the bottle as it was opened. Decanting not required but still suggested.  A lingering sour grape finish was noted at first but as time passed and the wine breathed this became better defined as a dry finish.  The nose started to fade at about 30 minutes yet its sweetness became stronger on the palate along with the detection of cocoa.

At the price of $6.99 this is a very drinkable wine. Worthy of a price point twice as high. That said, it was not very exciting. A good any day wine? Sure. An affordable wine? YES. A wine you’d jot down on your shopping list and buy every time you got the chance? No, not for me. But considering the fact that Wine Spectator recently rated the 2009 vintage of this wine at 87 points there may be many out there that would disagree.

Doing further research on the Kirkland Signature Series I was impressed to find quite the variety of wines available.  I am intrigued by their Meritage and even more so a Costco Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Looks like I know what I will be doing on one of my upcoming days off…. ¡SALUD!