Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc

Curpake Sauvignon Blanc Review

Chances are that you’ve either seen or know of the Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. It’s usually prominently displayed in every supermarket wine section across across America. So today at The Fermented Fruit my mission of unearthing the wine bargains we’re all searching for continues. I love these missions; and I love Sauvignon Blanc too.

Some are full of tart citrus while others are much more earthy and mineral driven. My favorite Sauvignon Blanc’s have a grassiness and an oily viscosity to them. The wines with these characteristics usually hail from New Zealand, especially the Marlborough wine-growing region there. Having said that, I haven’t met too many Sauvignon Blanc’s I haven’t liked for their sheer refreshing drink-ability.

The Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc just so happens to come from Marlborough and it has been quite some time since I’ve sampled it. The low price and prominent positioning in the Costco wine section also peaked my curiosity. Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc Review

Behind this bright well executed label lies quite the success story. Was it a stroke of genius that Cupcake Vineyards launched just as the cupcake craze began to take hold in America? It’s been called the current ‘it’ wine for good reason.

In 2010 sales surpassed one million cases per year. The company behind Cupcake wine, Underdog Wine and Spirits, reports that since launching in 2008 they have experienced double digit growth for the Cupcake Vineyards brand each year. Time to open the Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc and see whether we are dealing with clever marketing or clever wine-making. Hopefully its a nice combination of both.

 Have you seen our Costco Wine Price Guide with our top recommendations?

Appearance: Very light, greenish yellow

Nose: There’s lots of citrus and some subtle orchard fruits – mostly apple and pear.

On the palate: Crisp, tart and juicy with a light to medium body. The bright acidity brings life to the notes of lime, lemon peel and green apple. This isn’t terribly complex but it’s eminently quaffable style is enjoyable.

Varietal Composition: Sauvignon Blanc

Vintage: 2013

Origin: Marlborough, New Zealand

Value Rating:  4.5 / 5     

Price: $7.59 ($11 Retail)

Score:  87

Should you buy? If the order of the day is refreshing, uncomplicated and inexpensive this is a good, widely available option.

Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc Review

Value Proposition - Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc

Even if the Cupcake craze eventually comes to an end – something tells me that this particular cupcake will still be making its way into millions of shopping baskets. Fortunately in this case that’s not such a bad thing. Now we’ve just got to come up with how we can play the Macaroon craze while still in it’s nascent stages. Macaroon Rose, anyone?

While this didn’t have the level of complexity or our favorite characteristics we look for in Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc’s it isn’t without its redeemable qualities. Much like a cupcake this is refreshing, tasty, quick to disappear and doesn’t require the level of commitment as buying the whole cake, or say a more expensive bottle of wine. However, unlike a cupcake one glass of Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc has only 111 calories so you can enjoy this cupcake a little more freely!


La Marca Prosecco

La Marca Prosecco Review

Perhaps taking a cue from the success of Veuve Clicquot’s inescapable bright orange label, the La Marca Prosecco boasts an elegant and eye catching blue label which certainly stands out amongst a sea of wine labels. But we mustn’t get too distracted by pretty labels and well executed marketing! What’s behind the label and inside the bottle is far more important.

I was intrigued to learn that the La Marca is the only Prosecco producer from Veneto, Italy to have earned the honorable distinction of “Top 100 Wines of the Year” for it’s Prosecco by Wine Spectator. This leads me to believe that the La Marca Prosecco could very well have some serious potential. Time to investigate…

La Marca Prosecco

We love sparkling wine too! Check out another nice Italian Prosecco that costs under $10.

Appearance: Straw yellow with small, slowly rising bubbles.

Nose: Citrus and apple notes dominate with a lingering floral element.

On the palate: Soft and creamy, there are sweet orchard fruits, lemon curd, lavender, mineral and a touch of grapefruit on the pleasant if slightly short finish. This isn’t as effervescent as other sparklers; its more subtle in its overall approach.

Varietal Composition: Prosecco (100% Glera)

Origin: Veneto, Italy

Value Rating:  4.75 / 5     

Price: $10.99 ($17 Retail)

Score:  89

Should you buy? Yes, as an elegant inexpensive sipper – but we wouldn’t make Mimosa’s with it

La Marca Prosecco Review

Value Proposition - La Marca Prosecco

The La Marca Prosecco is delicate and understated in it’s approach – somewhat unusual and refreshing in wines at this very reasonable price point. These admirable qualities are also why we wouldn’t use this Prosecco as a base for mimosa’s or bellini’s. For those we recommend the Lunetta Prosecco as it boasts a more dominantly effusive personality; which in my opinion lends itself better to the sparkling wine cocktails we all love during brunch.

The La Marca Prosecco’s pretty label isn’t just a meretricious attempt to woo consumers. You can rest assured that the juice inside is just as elegant. This really grew on me as I sipped with Mom on a lazy Sunday afternoon. She liked it so much that she asked me to pick her up several bottles on my next trip to Costco (I can’t remember the last time she asked me her to pick up a bottle of anything!).

When we returned to Costco to stock up on the La Marca Prosecco they had sold out of it completely… Yet another lesson learned on my part that you have to stock up on Costco wines while they actually have them in stock!


Costco Wine Prices

J Vineyards Pinot Gris 2013 Review


     An Informal Guide to Costco Wine Prices

                     -and- Current Selections

If you’re like many wine lovers who are looking for great wine at great prices, you may have discovered that your local Costco sells wine! We have been Shopping for Wine at Costco for years now and the selections and prices continue to warrant your attention as a wine consumer. While we continue to feature specific wines which we feel represent a great deal of value on The Fermented Fruit, we thought a Costco wine price guide might serve our readers well. Since Costco neither publishes their current selections nor their prices, we hope that you find this guide to Costco wine prices resourceful!

Lunetta Prosecco Review

Sparkling Wines – Costco Wine Prices

  • Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne, $41.89
  • Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne, $37.89
  • Dom Perignon Brut Champagne 2003, $134.89
  • Kirkland Signature Brut Champagne, $19.99
  • Kirkland Signature Brut Rose Champagne, $24.99
  • Korbel Brut California Sparkling Wine, $9.89
  • Freixenet Brut Cava, Spain, 2 pack, $15.99
  • Lunetta Prosecco, Italy, $8.39 – Recommended
  • La Marca Prosecco, Italy, $10.99

Chardonnay – Costco Wine Prices

  • La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, $14.89
  • Simi Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, $10.89
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay, $7.49
  • Cambria Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay, $13.89 – Recommended
  • Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay, $14.69
  • Fess Parker Santa Barbara Chardonnay, $2013
  • Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay, $13.39
  • Kirkland Signature Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, $7.49
  • Sonoma Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, $18.89
  • Ferrari Carano Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, $20.99
  • Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuisse White Burgundy (Chardonnay), $19.89
  • Chalk Hill Estate Grown Chardonnay, $32.89
  • Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay, $12.89
  • Hess Napa Valley Chardonnay, $15.39 – Recommended
  • Kirkland Signature Chardonnay 1.5L, $7.99
  • Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay, $13.39 – Recommended

Sauvignon Blanc – Costco Wine Prices

  • Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, $12.89
  • Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc, $7.59 – Recommended
  • Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc, $8.69
  • Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, $24.89
  • Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc, $17.99
  • Atalon Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, $14.99
  • Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, $23.99

J Vineyards Pinot Gris 2013 Review

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris – Costco Wine Prices

  • Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, $17.99
  • Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, $7.89
  • King Estate Pinot Gris, $12.89
  • Cavit Pinot Grigio 1.5L, $10.89
  • J Vineyards Pinot Gris, $9.99 on sale (Was $11.99) – Recommended

Bordeaux – Costco Wine Prices

  • Chateau Latour Pauillac 2010, $1,399.99
  • Chateau Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 2010, $1,199.99
  • Chateau Margaux 2010, $999.97
  • Chateau Margaux 2011, $559.99
  • Carruades de Lafite Pauillac 2011, $189.99
  • Chateau Pontet Canet Pauillac 2011, $109.99 – Recommended
  • Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac 2011, $115.99
  • Chateau Roquefort, $8.99

Brunello – Costco Wine Prices

  • Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino, $57.99

Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Front Label

Cabernet Sauvignon and Red Blends – Costco Wine Prices

  • Folie à Deux Menage à Trois, $7.89
  • Apothic Red Blend, $7.89
  • Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet, $11.69
  • Black Box Cabernet 4L, $15.89
  • Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Cabernet 1.5L, 9.89
  • BV Coastal Estates Cabernet, $6.89
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet, $11.89
  • Sebastiani Sonoma County Cabernet, $10.89
  • J. Lohr Seven Oaks Paso Robles Cabernet, $11.89
  • Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon, $12.99 – Recommended
  • Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Cabernet, $14.89
  • Kirkland Signature Alexander Valley Cabernet, $8.99
  • Kirkland Signature Series Red Mountain Cabernet, $15.99
  • Napa Cellars Cabernet, $16.99
  • Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet, $22.89 – Recommended
  • Tarima Hill Monastrell Alicante, $12.69 – Recommended
  • Justin Paso Robles Cabernet, $19.99
  • Freemark Abbey Napa Cabernet, $26.99
  • Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet, $34.79
  • Chimney Rock Stags Leap District Napa Cabernet, $54.99
  • Chalk Hill Estate Red, $49.99
  • Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage Napa, $10.99 – Recommended
  • Pendulum Red Blend Columbia Valley, $13.79
  • Vinessens Sein Alicante Red Blend, $12.99 – Recommended
  • Tres Picos Red Blend, $11.99 – Recommended
  • Merus Napa Valley Cabernet 2009, $135.99
  • Diamond Creek Napa Valley Cabernet 2008, $135.99
  • DeLille Cellars Grand Ciel Cabernet 2008, $99.99

Malbec – Costco Wine Prices

Merlot – Costco Wine Prices

  • Bonterra Mendocino County Merlot, $10.39
  • Bogle Merlot, $7.39
  • Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Merlot, $14.89
  • Decoy by Duckhorn Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot, $15.99
  • HALL Merlot 2007, $19.99 – Recommended

Pinot Noir – Costco Wine Prices

  • Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir, $13.99
  • Chalk Hill Pinot Noir, $39.99
  • Marimar Estate Cristina Pinot Noir, $45.99 – Recommended

Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, and ZinfandelCostco Wine Prices

  • Breaux Vineyards Cabernet Franc Virginia, $15.99
  • Layer Cake Shiraz, $11.89
  • Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz, $22.99
  • Yellowtail Shiraz 1.5L, $9.39
  • Seven Deadly Zins Zinfandel, $11.89

*Costco wine prices are current and accurate to the best of our knowledge as of September 10, 2014. We have no affiliation with Costco. Stores visited for this guide: Costco in Arlington, Virginia and Fort Lauderdale, Fl.


Roederer Estate Brut

Roederer Estate Brut

In 1982, Jean-Claude Rouzaud selected a 580 acre vineyard site in California’s Anderson Valley with the intent to expand and further build upon his long family tradition of producing world-class sparkling wine. The descendant of the founder of Champagne Louis Roederer, Jean-Claude Rouzaud was running the highly successful family company when he decided to bring his vision of Champagne to the United States in the form of Roederer Estate. Six years after locating this ideal, sizable site near the Mendocino Coast, the Roederer Estate Brut was born!

Roederer Estate Brut Review

We love well-priced sparkling wine. Consider this Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava too!

Appearance: Pale golden yellow with a soft but persistent effervescence and medium sized bead.

Nose: Toasty and doughy with lemon and apple notes piercing through.

On the palate: This is rich, round, toasty and creamy. It’s elegant and refined mouthfeel belie it’s modest price tag. Lively notes of honeysuckle and orchard fruits expand on the palate as it leads to a long, dry yeasty finish.

Varietal Composition: ~60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir

Origin: Anderson Valley, California

Value Rating: 5 / 5     

Price: ~$16-18 ($23.99 Retail)

Score:  92

Should you buy? Yes! The Roederer Estate Brut boasts Champagne character at a sparkling wine price.

Roederer Estate Brut Review

Value Proposition - Roederer Estate Brut

I’ve been in the mood for sparkling wine lately. I really enjoy a glass before dinner as an aperitif to wake up the taste buds. I like finding tasty bottles that don’t necessarily require a celebratory environment to be enjoyed, and the Roederer Estate Brut couldn’t fit the bill any better.

This could very well be as inexpensively as it gets to Champagne in California. It has all of that yeasty, toasty richness that we have all come to love from the wines of Champagne. Some notable points that surely contribute to the admirable character of the Roederer Estate Brut:

  • It is aged a minimum of two years on the lees (yeasts).
  • Roederer Estate sources all of it’s fruit from entirely estate-owned vineyards.
  • Little to no malolactic fermentation occurs to ensure the freshness and precision that is characteristic of Louis Roederer’s wines.
  • Recently recognized as Wine World Champion U.S. by the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC) in September of 2014.
  • The owners of Roederer Estate are also responsible for one of the most expensive and highly sought after wines in the world: Cristal Champagne.

The Roederer Estate Brut is a classy, tasteful execution in the value sparkling wine category. Fans of sparkling wine will surely benefit from Jean-Claude Rouzaud’s decision to produce a California sparkling wine in the style of his families tradition at Champagne Louis Roederer. How can you go wrong with a sparkler readily available nationwide from retailers under $20 that shares DNA with Cristal Champagne? The answer is that you can’t. So if you’re on the fence about picking up a bottle of the Roederer Estate Brut, please allow me to gently nudge you in the right direction…you won’t be disappointed!

Roederer Estate Brut Review


J Pinot Gris 2013

J Vineyards Pinot Gris ReviewThis summer in Washington D.C. has been surprisingly mild and beautiful – which for me translates to being unusually conducive to patio wine sipping. Such opportunities call for a wine that is crisp and refreshing, but my favorite sippers are those with a bit of depth and complexity to keep things interesting. The Novellum Chardonnay I recently reviewed has been serving us quite well but I decided it was time for something a little different! On a recent trip to Costco in Arlington the J Pinot Gris caught my eye. I hadn’t had a Pinot Gris in quit some time, and I had always enjoyed it’s relative expressiveness compared to that of Pinot Grigio.

J Vineyards Pinot Gris Review

Appearance: Pale golden yellow

Nose: The nose suggests a light and crisp wine with notes of melon and grass.

On the palate: This is slightly fuller than the soft and subtlety aromatic nose suggests. The mouthfeel is lush and juicy with notes of sweet honeydew, lime, pear, banana and glycerin. This is crisp with a nice streak of minerality on the clean, lingering, slightly off-dry finish.

Varietal Composition: Pinot Gris

Origin: Clarksburg (36%); Lodi (36%); North Coast (22%); Monterey (6%), California

Value Rating: 4.5 / 5     

When: 2013

Price: $9.99 (~$16 Retail)

Score:  90

Should you buy? Yes, this won’t last long in your glass!

J Vineyards Pinot Gris Review

Value Proposition

The J Pinot Gris was regularly priced at $11.99 but was on sale the day I was at Costco. Even at the retail price of $16 this well made Pinot Gris is well worth your consideration, but getting it under $12 is a great value. And don’t limit your enjoyment to patio sipping, as this begs to be paired with something spicy, preferably in an alfresco setting.

The J Pinot Gris is brought to us by Judy Jordan of J Vineyards & Winery. If the name Jordan sounds familiar, it should come as no surprise… That’s because she is the daughter of Tom Jordan, who founded the highly successful Jordan Winery in Alexander Valley. It seems a knack for making great wines runs in the family!

While Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are actually the same grape, its interesting just how different they can be. It just goes to show you how much of an impact ‘terroir’ truly has as variations in soils, climates and wine-making techniques all come together to create a truly unique wine with its own sense of place. If you find Pinot Grigio’s in this price range too light or uninteresting then give the J Vineyards Pinot Gris 2013 a try. You might just find that California’s take on this French varietal is just what the doctor ordered!

J Vineyards Pinot Gris Review

You might also enjoy…

Rondel Brut Cava NV Review – At under $10 this Spanish Cava is likely to become your bargain go-to bubbly!

Rondel Brut Cava NV





Novellum Chardonnay 2013 – At under $10 this complex yet refreshing Chardonnay from veritable power-importer Eric Solomon might be your new house wine!

Novellum Chardonnay Review





Shopping for Wine at Costco – Costco might not have the rare finds and expertise of your local wine merchant but they do have great prices on popular finds!

Veuve-Clicquot Champagne at Costco





Lunetta Prosecco

Lunetta Prosecco Wine Review

There could never be enough good Champagne alternatives in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong…I’d be happy to drink in its sunshine all the time, but for those of us born without a trust fund we must look to places outside of the Champagne like California, Spain, other wine growing regions of France or in the case of the Lunetta Prosecco: Italy.

The Cavit Collection is one of the most well-known producers of Italian wine. They forged their reputation in the 1970s as a pioneer of Pinot Grigio production in Northern Italy. But their now ubiquitous Pinot Grigio is certainly not the only wine they produce. Now let’s pop the cork and see whether Cavit’s Lunetta Prosecco makes the cut as your next Champagne alternative.

Lunetta Prosecco Wine Review

Speaking of Champagne alternatives…this Spanish Cava is another great sparking wine ringing in under $10 as well!

Appearance: Straw yellow with a slow yet persistent medium sized bead.

Nose: Bright and fruity with notes of peaches and citrus.

On the palate: An effusive personality reveals notes of apple, peach, kiwi and limes. Although this finishes somewhat dry there is a touch of sweetness on the round mid-palate.

Varietal Composition: 100% Prosecco (otherwise known as the Glera varietal)

Origin: Veneto, Italy

Value Rating: 4.0 / 5     

Price: $8.39 (~$13 Retail)

Score:  87

Should you buy? If you’re looking for a refreshing, easy going sparking wine then Yes!

Lunetta Prosecco Wine Review

Value Proposition - Lunetta Prosecco

Perhaps in a testament to it’s popularity, sales of Prosecco actually surpassed those of Champagne wines in 2013. Surely contributing to that statistic is Cavit’s Lunetta Prosecco. It seems to be one of the staples in the Costco wine section (Like the Rondel Cava is at Total Wine). Unlike many wines I see there which might not return once sold out, the Lunetta Prosecco is always in stock and well priced at under $10.

Lunetta Prosecco Wine Review

As Prosecco often does, the Lunetta Prosecco exudes a lighter, fruitier personality than most wines from Champagne. They can be chalky, doughy, toasty and are almost always expensive. These attributes are among my favorite characteristics in a sparkling wine (minus the expensive part of course!) but they aren’t always appealing to every palate.

Those people who might be turned off by the more austere flavor profile or pricing of Champagne should look no further than this refreshing sparkler. Lunetta means ‘Little Moon’ in Italian, and as charming as that is I think you’ll be most impressed by the little price tag and the fun, fruity effervescent style of the Lunetta Prosecco.

Lunetta Prosecco Wine Review

You might also enjoy…

Rondel Brut Cava NV Review – At under $10 this Spanish Cava is likely to become your bargain go-to bubbly! Read on for more details and photos.

Rondel Brut Cava NV





Novellum Chardonnay 2013 – At under $10 this complex yet refreshing Chardonnay from veritable power-importer Eric Solomon might be your new house wine!

Novellum Chardonnay 2013 Front Label





Tarima Hill Monastrell 2011 Review – Is this bold red one of the best bargains in the Costco wine section?

Tarima Hill Old Vine Monastrell Review





Shopping for Wine at Costco – Costco might not have the rare finds and expertise of your local wine merchant but they do have great prices on popular finds!

Veuve-Clicquot Champagne at Costco





Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon Review

On a recent trip to Costco in Arlington I was originally on the hunt for one of my new favorite Spanish bargains, the Tarima Hill Old Vine Monastrell, when I spotted the Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2011. I had tasted prior vintages by the glass at several restaurants who pour this as their house Cabernet Sauvignon, but I had never actually committed to a full bottle. It’s not often you order house wine that actually tastes somewhat varietally correct and like…real wine. I decided at under $12 it was about time to pull the trigger and give it a shot.

Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon Review

Appearance: A slightly translucent medium-ruby

Nose: Sweet and moderately perfumed with dark red fruit, cedar and black olive.

On the palate: Medium bodied with a soft and juicy core of red and black fruit. There are notes of anise, clove, raspberry, black cherry and currants enveloped by a nice spiciness. There are touches of leather and smokey vanillin on the dry, slightly tight finish.

Varietal Composition: Cabernet Sauvignon

Origin: North Coast, California

Value Rating: 5 / 5

When: 2011

Price: $11.89 (~$17 Retail)

Score:  89

Should you buy? Consider making the Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon your new house wine!

Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon Review

Value Proposition – Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon

Hess Select wines are crafted by Hess Winemakers from their own vineyards in Napa as well as from fruit sourced from partnerships with growers in Napa, Lake and Mendocino Counties. They are created with an emphasis on sustainable farming practices, value and are intended to be approachable and drinkable when young.

In my opinion, Hess has succeeded in doing just that with the Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2011. It’s balanced with decent complexity and it actually tastes like Cabernet should. In a price category where competition can be overwhelming for consumers, this 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon makes a compelling argument for your consideration.

Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon Review

You might also enjoy…

2011 Tarima Hill Old Vine Monastrell Review – Is this bold red one of the best bargains in the Costco wine section?

Tarima Hill Old Vine Monastrell Cork





Big Vine Wines: 2010 Cabernet Napa Valley Review – This Cabernet I paid only $14 for might just be the best bargain in Napa Valley!

Big Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Review





Shopping for Wine at Costco – Costco might not have the rare finds and expertise of your local wine merchant but they do have great prices on popular finds!






Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009 Review – Called one of the most underrated producers of Cabernet in Napa Valley by Robert Parker himself!

Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009 Review





Also take the time to visit a great blog that focuses entirely on Costco’s wine selections: Costco Wine Blog. It’s a great source of information for those navigating the ever changing and copious selections at their local Costco.

Tarima Hill Monastrell 2011

Tarima Hill Old Vine Monastrell Review

Bodegas Volver produces the Tarima Hill Monastrell 2011 with fruit from it’s vineyard holdings of approximately 834 acres spread across the Spanish wine regions of Alicante, Jumilla and La Mancha. Of those impressive holdings (which the winery has plans to expand further), 457 acres are located in the Alicante. Despite having a history of wine production for over 2,000 years, Alicante is still better known for it’s beaches than it’s wines.

It’s reputation of producing cheap, bulk wine is quickly transforming as a new generation of vanguard winemakers produce bold reds with superb extraction and balance at price points few other, if any, wine regions can match. It’s from 40 to 75 year old vines in the Alicante that Bodegas Volver crafts the Tarima Hill Monastrell 2011. I’m anxious to see whether the Tarima Hill falls into the category of cheap, bulk wine or rather that it represents yet another great value from an overachieving producer in Spain.

Tarima Hill Old Vine Monastrell Review

Appearance: Deep, dark violet

Nose: Floral and surprisingly bright for such a deep wine. Notes of lavender and violets make way to a bit of roasted meat character.

On the palate: Dense and rich yet relatively lithe as notes of kirsch, blueberry liquor, chocolate, spice and incense reveal themselves. It benefits from a nice tarry, meaty quality to it. Despite Mourvedre’s reputation as often being quite tannic there is little to no perceptible tannin on the smooth finish, lingering finish.

Varietal Composition: Monastrell (Also known as Mourvedre)

Origin: Alicante, Spain

Value Rating: 5 / 5

Price: $12.69 (~$15 Retail)

Score:  92

Should you buy? If you can find it, buy it by the case!

Tarima Hill Old Vine Monastrell Review

Value Proposition - Tarima Hill Monastrell

If you’re looking for a red wine that is big and interesting without overpowering your palate or your wallet then the Tarima Hill Monastrell 2011 from Bodegas Volver is just what the doctor ordered. I picked this gem up in the wine section of Fort Lauderdale’s Costco.

During my visit I was impressed with the selection of wines they had from Spain. I thought to myself that Spanish wine often delivers quite a bit of value itself, even at the retail price point you might find at your local wine shop. But how about combined with Costco pricing power? Well it was certainly a recipe for success if the Tarima Hill Monastrell 2011 is any indication.

Costco continues to be a great source for value with it’s wine program. Something worth noting is that their wine selections can be quite varied from location to location and they often sell out of favorite bottles rather quickly so it pays to pick up those bottles when you have the opportunity!

You might also enjoy…

Shopping for Wine at Costco – Costco might not have the rare finds and expertise of your local wine merchant but they do have great prices on popular finds!

Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc





Espelt Garnacha Old Vines Emporda 2010 -This 92 point Spanish gem is well worth your $10!

Espelt Garnacha 2010 Label Final





Bodegas Alta Pavina ‘Citius’ Pinot Noir 2009 – Spain’s first 100% Pinot Noir produced with assistance from Claude Bourguignon!

Alta-Pavina-Pinot-Noir-2009-Front-Label-870x1024 (2)





Big Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Big Vine Cabernet Sauvignon Review

Big Vine Wines is cooperative of industry professionals based in the Oxbow District of Napa Valley. With two state of the art production facilities (One in Napa and one in Dry Creek) they leverage their extensive relationships within the wine industry to bring appellation-specific wines of incredible quality and value.

Though the business model of Big Vine includes purchasing already crafted wine lots, the Big Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 was handcrafted from scratch by none other than Scott McCloed of Rubicon. One of my absolute favorite wines is still Napa Cabernet and I welcome any iteration that has the character and style that I’ve come to expect without the high price tag all wine lovers have come to expect!

Big Vine Cabernet Sauvignon Review

We love Napa Valley Cabernet too…try this other great option!

Appearance: Deep and dark turning crimson at the rim

Nose: Sweet and rich with dark cherries, chocolate and blackberry liquor notes

On the palate: This is deep, and richly satisfying with blackberry, bell pepper, clove, cassis, incense and chocolate covered cherries. The fruit and good Cabernet character is supported by the refined dusty tannins characteristic of Cabernet from the Rutherford bench. This needs a little time to open up with with time in the glass it really fills out quite nicely.

Varietal Composition: Cabernet Sauvignon

Origin: Napa Valley: 50% Rutherford, 30% Atlas Peak and 20% Coombsville

Value Rating: 5 / 5

Price: $14 ($28 Retail)

Score:  92

Should you buy? At the price paid: as much as you can afford. Although at retail there is still good value here.
Big Vine Cabernet Sauvignon Review

Value Proposition – Big Vine Cabernet

I purchased the Big Vine Cabernet from online wine wholesaler Last Bottle for a pretty great price of $14 per bottle with free shipping. I would definitely stock up on this Napa Cabernet bargain if they, or another retailer, were to offer this again for a similar price. This is one of the better bargains I have come across from Napa Valley. It has all of the richness, structure and refined Napa character you could ask for. If you’re a Cabernet drinker then you owe it to yourself to give the Big Vine Cabernet 2010 a shot! At these prices, how could you go wrong?

Big Vine Cabernet Sauvignon Review

You might also enjoy…

Seavey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Napa Valley – This Cabernet was called one of the most underrated Cab’s in Napa by Robert Parker himself!

Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009 Front Label





Anderson’s Conn Valley Right Bank 2011 Napa Valley – A most unique and compelling value emulating the great Chateau Cheval Blanc in the heart of the Napa Valley.

Anderson's Conn Valley Right Bank 2011 Front label





Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Review – This approachable Cabernet might just change the way you think about house wine!

Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Review





Novellum Chardonnay 2013

Novellum Chardonnay Review

With summer right around the corner it’s time to break out the white wine! There’s something about this time of year that has wanting Rosé, Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, Albarino and of course, Chardonnay! Whether it be an aperitif, paired with an alfresco meal or simply to sip on the patio with friends, summer calls for something crisp and refreshing. Does the Novellum Chardonnay 2013, a custom cuvee brought to us by the talented Jean-Marc Lafage of Domaine Lafage winery and veritable power-importer Eric Solomon, get the job done at a decent price? Let’s find out…

You may also enjoy this lush yet refreshingly crisp Pinot Gris that makes a great Summer Sipper!

Novellum Chardonnay 2013 Cork

Appearance: Pale straw yellow

Nose: Bright and pure with honeysuckle and high toned citrus and tropical fruit.

On the palate: Crisp and clean with a touch of vanilla. This is not your buttery, creamy Chardonnay from Napa. This is complex and layered with notes of lemon curd, glycerin, banana, papaya and guava. Despite the perception of sweetness from the fruit this finishes pretty dry with exuberant acidity.

Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay from 2 separate vineyards. 

Origin: IGP Côtes Catalanes, Roussilon, France.

Value Rating: 4.75 / 5     

Price: $9.98 ($12-$14 Retail)

Score:  91

Should you buy? Yes, by the case!

Novellum Chardonnay Review

Value PropositionNovellum Chardonnay

The Novellum Chardonnay 2013 is another value driven white from talented and highly-sought after winemaker Jean-Marc Lafage of Domaine Lafage and importer Eric Solomon of European Cellars. Solomon has garnered a lot of attention for his ability to source top fruit at unbeatable pricing and it shows in this quaffable wine.

Novellum Chardonnay has become a go to by the glass selection in many restaurants and I can certainly see why. Produced from 30 year old vines in Southern France the Novellum Chardonnay 2013 is aged on Viognier lees for 3 months (surely lending to it’s complexity and wonderful aromatics) in both stainless steel and burgundy barrels. It marries richness with complexity without being overbearing or competing with more subtle foods.

This is not your butterball, creamy Chardonnay that you may have come to love from Napa Valley. If you haven’t tried a Chardonnay where the oak and creamy style (as a result of malolactic fermentation) don’t take center stage yet then the Novellum Chardonnay should be at the top of your list.

Like myself, you might even find the use of little to no oak in Chardonnay’s to be a welcome departure from the norm. Made in this fashion, the pureness of the fruit really shines. And at under $10, how can you go possibly go wrong?

Novellum Chardonnay Review


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...