Happy Divine Wine Sunday!!… or Monday. I seem to have a rough time getting my post completed on Sunday… but hey, wine is divine no matter the day, right?
One of my favorite places to shop is Costco. Yes, I am just one person, but I have an enormous refrigerator and lots of cabinet space. So buying the 5 gallon jug of dish soap or 24 cans of tomato sauce or 20 breasts of frozen chicken is not really a problem. And guess what else isn’t a problem… the wine section! Despite Costco’s packaging of most products in at least a two-pack and up to a gazillion-pack, they do offer regular old single bottles of wine for excellent Costco prices.
I don’t often buy the same bottles of wine from wine stores – primarily because I like to try something new, and there are so many wines out there to taste. But Costco, in all its glory, has a relatively small selection of wines that I find very enjoyable for a very reasonable price. That’s their thing… offer less of a selection of wine, but keep the value high. Of the “Kirkland” labeled wines, I have found all that I’ve tried to be quite tasty, and I’m repeatedly purchase the the same wines from the warehouse. So today, I am highlighting the one that I consistently look for on every Costco adventure.
Divine Wine of the Week: Kirkland Signature Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA
Price Range: $12.99 at Costco!
Wino Assessment: I generally like Cabernet Sauvignons quite a bit. And this one is among my favorite “every day wines”. (Yes, that will go in the glossary when I get around to making it.) To me, it is medium-bodied but full of “ripe fruit” flavors. What do I mean by that… I’m not totally sure… working through these words myself. It isn’t tart but it isn’t overly fruity. It is somewhere in between – perhaps a little cherry-like or plum-like but with a tinge of earthiness (which I love). I hate to admit this in words on the world wide web, but it is not hard for me to finish one of these bottles off in one evening…. for me, it’s very drinkable. (Wow – if that isn’t an ambiguous wino assessment, I don’t know what is!)
Cabernet Sauvignon. I feel like we have talked about this grape already on Wino to Wine Know, but apparently we have not – not on Divine Wine Sunday (or Monday) anyway. Cabernet Sauvignon (which I will refer to as “Cab” from hereon out in this post), is one of two of the world’s most popular grapes. (Merlot is the other.) It is a dark-skinned grape variety and it is based out of Bordeaux in France. Cab grapes are typically mixed with other grapes to make a Bordeaux wine, but there are certainly plenty of wines that are 100% (or majority) Cab. This grape has an ability to help a winemaker use the grape to make the wine that s/he wants to make. It is highly dependent on the terroir (the elements associated with the climate and soil and many other factors of where the vines are planted… more on terroir in a future post), and is a good candidate for longer bottle aging (meaning, Cabs may sit in their bottles for years and become one of those wines you save for a special occasion).
An interesting fun fact about Cabernet Sauvignon – its “parent” grapes are believed to be Cabernet Franc (a black grape) and Sauvignon Blanc (a white grape). This development was believed to have happened way back when (that’s an official time period) via some mixture of the two “parent” vines.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a crucial part of French wines, where it is commonly blended with other grapes. Why blend? Well while the Cab provides “structure” and has a lot of tannins, it needs to balanced by other grapes to make the wine interesting. While the French often blend their Cab grapes with others, Napa Valley offers a lot of 100% / majority Cab grape wines. Because of this, the Napa Cabs tend to be “dense, purple-black, jammy and tasting of currants and black cherries.” (The Wine Enthusiast Magazine) I really like Bordeauxs and I really like Cabs, so I guess I’m a winner either way!
Costco doesn’t offer a lot of info about their wines, in particular their Kirkland Signature labels. But they do offer a Costco Wine Blog! (Who knew!?!) Check it out – it shares a bit about what Costco offers in general when it comes to wine. You may be wondering about the Kirkland Signature label. If you’re not a Costco shopper, you should know that “Kirkland” is Costco’s brand name (I believe that is due to their home base of Kirkland, Washington, where one of my favorite Dreamers was born.) According to Serious About Wine, Costco serves as a distributor for small lots of wine and slaps their label on the bottle. (Ok, there’s probably a bit more to it than that…) They are small lots in general with about 2000 cases – which is possibly big for a winery, but small for a major warehouse like Costco. If you check out the post on Serious About Wine, you’ll learn a bit about the distribution methodology that Costco has laid out with regard to the “Kirkland Signature” label.
What does the Costco Wine Blog say about their 2009 Kirkland Signature Napa Cab? (I should note that I’m not sure how official this Costco wine blog is, but it looks pretty decent to me.)
“This is a good mid-week, everyday Napa Cab that’s $12.99 at Costco.And the wine is good, nice for the price, and after some air it started to open up into a fairly decent wine.
Cherry aromas, dark fruit flavors with a little chocolate, medium to full in body, and the finish was nice and smooth. I like Napa Cabs and I hunt for the best at these price points, and this one is definitely a contender. But I just didn’t find anything to push it over the edge. Nice wine, good price. Worth dropping in the cart.“
I’m pretty happy with the pairing of my Wino Assessment to the Costco Wine Blog Assessment. At least when I read the Costco Wine Blog, I am thinking, “Yes! That’s what I meant!”
So Cabs are among the most popular grapes to plant in the wine world. But here on this post, I am only going to talk about California since this Cab is from that fine state neighboring my home state of Arizona. Apparently Cabs are the basis fo the “California Cult” wines. What, you ask, is a “California Cult” wine? Well, apparently it was a phrase used in the 1990s that were typically Cabs (but not exclusively Cabs) made in California and typically Napa Valley for which high rollers would pay higher prices than that of Bordeaux’s “first growths” (to put it simply, top ranking wines in Bordeaux). So as you can imagine, Napa loves its Cabs… as does the world of wine drinkers. It is an important grape across the world and will certainly be highlighted on this Wino’s world wide web space in the future!!
Hope you feel like you “Wine Know” more about Costco wine and Napa Cabs!! Have you tried this Costco wine or any of their other Kirkland Signature labels? What did you think!??!
[Source of Wine Knowledge in this post is The Oxford Companion to Wine.]