The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve and Platinum Reserve Wines might vary in the type of wine as well as the AVA specific sub-appellation from which they are produced but a few things remain constant: they are often excellent values, routinely over-delivering for the price and the best ones sell out quickly. The program is not unlike Costco’s own private-label Kirkland Signature one.
The Grand Reserve Meritage ($12.99), Grand Reserve Oakville Merlot and the Platinum Reserve Yountville Cabernet ($14.99) have been personal favorites of mine. While the Grand Reserve Meritage seems to be somewhat more readily available, the latter two offerings sold out really quickly.
Kicking off International Sauvignon Blanc Day with Kim Crawford’s Sauvignon Blanc
Well it’s finally Friday and it’s finally warming up after the dreadful Winter we’ve painfully endured here in the Northeast. As if that alone isn’t enough reason to celebrate consider that today, April 24th 2015, also happens to be the 6th annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day! So if your weekend plans didn’t already include some alfresco Sauvignon Blanc sipping, they pretty much have to now, capiche?
How It Came About | International Sauvignon Blanc Day
The Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage is one of the most popular offerings in the Kirkland Signature Wine Program, having developed it’s own sort of ‘cult following’. It has almost always over-delivered in a big way complete with Napa flair and real ‘Rutherford dust’ character. It also routinely sells out in a flash. Then you’re waiting another entire year to spot this little gem again, if you’re lucky that is.
The 2011 vintage of the Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage was slightly disappointing to me (it was a pretty challenging vintage) and I never even spotted the 2012, but today Costco had the 2013 in stock! While the price has gone up a few dollars (from $10.99 to $13.89), the 2013 vintage was a knockout for Napa Valley and I can’t wait to see if the 2013 Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage is as well.
J Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon | Top Cabernet’s Under $15
Judging by the number of searches I have for the J Lohr Cabernet on my site, the great folks who regularly read TheFermentedFruit would like to know whether it’s a good value. I was once pretty fond of J Lohr’s Cabernet for it’s accessibility and sheer drinkability but thought quality had dropped off until I tasted the 2012 J Lohr Cabernet at a party recently.
Korbel Champagne | A Controversial California Champagne | Trader Joe’s Wine
Made famous by it’s controversial yet wildly successful Korbel Champagne, the Korbel Winery in California’s Russian River Valley was founded in 1882 by the Czechoslovakian Korbel brothers: Francis, Joseph and Anton.
The producers of Korbel Champagne sold their winery in 1954 to Adolph Heck and then in 1974 Adolph’s son Gary took over the winery. While in charge at Korbel, Gary succeeded in increasing production of the now ubiquitous Korbel Champagne from an already healthy 150,000 cases per year to today’s impressive level of 1.3 million cases per year.
Today, by volume, Korbel Champagne is the most popular sparkling wine produced in the United States using the traditional ‘méthode champenoise’ method. The incredible success and popularly of Korbel Champagne surely only adds to the frustration of the French officials and Champagne producers in Champagne, France. What’s the rub? Korbel has insisted on marketing themselves as Champagne when in actuality it is merely a California sparkling wine.
Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Meritage Napa Valley 2011 | Trader Joe’s Wine
Recently I took a gamble on the Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Spring Mountain Cabernet and was pretty surprised with the quality-price-ratio. At only $15, it easily drank like a wine costing twice as much if not more. So I went back to the Trader Joe’s Wine Section with the idea that I would stock up on this screaming Spring Mountain Cabernet value only to find that it had already sold out completely!
Apparently the Trader Joe’s wine experience is more similar to that of Shopping for Wine at Costco than I had imagined… So having learned my lesson and not wanting to leave empty handed, I decided to try the Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Meritage Napa Valley 2011.
After having such great success with the Northstar Merlot from Columbia Valley Washington, I decided it was about time that I try another Washington State wine – except this time I wanted to try a Cabernet and wanted the price to be around the $10 range rather than the $20 price range that the Northstar Merlot falls in at Costco.
It’s tough enough to find good Cabernet around $20 so as you can probably imagine it can be quite a bit more challenging to find a well-made, quality Cabernet Sauvignon around $10.
To keep the playing field level and to get a great price, I went back to the Costco Wine Section and chose the Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 for $10.99. I’m pretty intrigued to see how this popular Columbia Valley Cabernet offering stacks up against others in this highly-competitive price category.
I’m surprised I’m just now trying the Chateau Hanteillan 2010. Considering it received a solid 92 point score from Wine Enthusiast and is frequently touted by one of my favorite wine wholesalers: Wines Til Sold Out. They offer it for half of it’s $30 retail and have marketed it as a ‘very impressive “stock your cellar” wine.’ But when I happened upon the Chateau Hanteillan 2010 in the Costco Wine section at under $12, I couldn’t resist any further!
The Domaine Lafage Cuvee Nicolas 2012 really caught my attention when I received an e-mail offering from The Wine Library. Not only was it fashioned by the same talented winemaker who produces the Novellum Chardonnay, but at only $13 it had scored a whopping 93 point score by Jeb Dunnuck of the Wine Advocate.
The Novellum Chardonnay is an excellent value, consistently over delivering for it’s modest price point at the hands of winemaker Jean Marc Lafage. He is also responsible for producing the wildly popular Las Rocas Garnacha for power-importer Eric Solomon.
I don’t drink many Rieslings, mostly because I’m not a huge fan of sweetness in my wines. Rieslings are however considered to be amongst the greatest age-worthy white wines, and they aren’t always very sweet, if at all. I very much enjoyed a Riesling recently while visiting Long Island Wine Country at Paumanok Vineyards so when I spotted the Dr. Wagner Riesling Kabinett at my local Costco I decided to give it a try.
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