Long time readers will know that we love these sub $20 Ribera del Duero bottles when they hit Costco stores. Almost as much as we like some of the off shoot Bordeaux bottles that occasionally grace the “cheap seats” (wine stacked in aisles, not in wood bins).
And we’ve had plenty of Ribera winners over the years. This bottle however, I found to be pretty middle of road. It was $15 so the price was right, but it left something to be desired for me.
We are writing a book about Spanish wines right now, so I’ve tasted quite a few of these wines recently, but despite a label that says almost everything you want to see for $15, the juice was a little on the light side.
Obviously, there’s a big competitor for this wine in the Costco aisles with the introduction of the Kirkland Ribera del Duero, which we really enjoyed. At only $13, it remains our current pick for Ribera wines at Costco right now.
But back to this one; it pours dark but is rather light in the mouth, which is fine, but it lacked some of the power that I like in Ribera wines. This bottle is clearly sliding towards the elegance side, but even then, the flavor was pretty flat.
There’s hints of spice, a little Dr Pepper, black fruit with dark chocolate notes, it’s toasty with a little campfire smoke. I guess I feel it’s just missing the depth I hoped for and have had from Ribera wines, and of course, many times from Rioja.
(Wine Enthusiast went 91 points on this wine but I just don’t see it)
CostoWineBlog.com Rating: 86 Points
Costco item number: 462177
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Saturday 14th of October 2017
Thank you for your the nice review. I've seen this one in the aisles and it did not make sense (Crianza, likely aged 15 months in barrel) in comparison to Kirkland's Ribera del Duero - Gran Reserva, aged five years in barrel.
Was this wine (Cathar) 100% Tempranillo?
Your review affirms my opinion (developed through the years) to disregard WE ratings.
On a slight different twist: is the 2012 Ribera del Duero vintage supposed to be better than 2011? I am under the impression that 2012 was better. Thus, assuming that Kirkland uses the same bodega (winemaker & process) they used for the 2011 vintage, when the Kirkland Gran Reserva 2012 from Ribera del Duero shows up, I will be a buyer.
Saturday 14th of October 2017
Hi, appreciate the great comments. I do believe the Cathar was 100% Tempranillo. It was fine, drinkable, but just not the caliber of wine that the Kirkland Ribera was at a lower price point. As far as vintages go, from what I've read the '11 and '12 for Ribera region were both very good. It drops off a little from there into '13-'14 but still there hasn't been a dud year in Spain in a while (which makes it easy to pick vintages when you have a lot to choose from; they're all pretty safe). I'll be very interested to try the next vintage of the Kirkland Ribera. I hope they see they have a winning formula there (but also keep the price consistent). AC