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2021 Kirkland Signature Russian River Chardonnay Sonoma

2021 Kirkland Signature Russian River Chardonnay Sonoma

Here comes the newest vintage of the Kirkland Russian River Chardonnay. This is always an interesting bottle, finding fans some years, while coming up a little short in other years.

The ridiculously attractive $12.99 price tag stays for another vintage, which is great news. There is just not a lot, if any, Russian River Chardonnay coming in around that price point. It’s great to see Costco holding it steady.

Kirkland Russian River Chardonnay Sonoma

We’ve tasted pretty much every vintage of this bottle going back to the 2012. Somehow we missed the 2020 which is a bummer. If someone has notes on tasting that one, please let us know in the comments below.

2012 90 points

2013 87 points

2014 88 points

2015 87 points

2016 86 points

2017 87 points

2018 87 points

2019 89 points

Let’s jump into this new 2021 vintage.

In the glass the wine is a medium gold, with aromas of citrus fruit, cream, mild oak; the wine is medium bodied; flavors of apple pie, lemon, orange peel; pretty solid up to the finish where the wine becomes a little disjointed, just not coming together quite as we hoped.

Kirkland Russian River Chardonnay Sonoma

We’d recommend past fans of this wine, give a bottle a shot before committing to more. It might not be everyone’s jam. We’re going back down to 86 points on this vintage. It’s an 88-89 right up until that finish.

This wine remains one of the most varied vintage to vintage in the Kirkland portfolio. And that’s also a reason we look forward to tasting it every year. Rating: 86 points

Costco item number: 789895

Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA

Alc. 14%

Tony Souza

Saturday 24th of June 2023

The whole discussion of "oaky" and "buttery" gets my attention. I too prefer chardonnay that is light on the oak and moderate on the butter flavors though I have found "buttery" chards I enjoy, but overall I prefer the unoaked, Chablis style. I wait for when the KS Chablis shows up and it gets even a decent review which determines whether or not I get 6 or a case to carry me for the year. I would love to see Costco bring in more true Chablis as well as Pouilly Fouise and white burgundy in general. I live in the West and we get lots of California chardonnay, much of it nondescript. In general, many of the wines on this site never show up at all, which is a major disappointment. In the old, pre-pandemic, pre 911 days I would always bring 2 cases of wine back from trips. I travelled enough that the airline rarely charged me. Now that is not really doable. I would love if Costco in Hawaii would bring in more white varieties at least in summer, if not year-round, as our weather is warmer and we get lots of tourists who are often enough not from the US West Coast and more sophisticated. Greater variety would be welcomed.

Art Husami

Saturday 17th of June 2023

One great wine blog editor wrote:” I always picture someone inside corporate Costco with Mr. Burns’ fingers (not sure why) sitting around pushing buttons on what’s available and what’s not, rejoicing in controlling our obsession with the “Costco find.” “ I live in Southern California, a high-population-density area where over a dozen Costco warehouses are within reasonable driving distance; there are four Costco warehouses that are virtually equidistant from my house. I sometimes call a store, or go there, to check if they have a certain wine you recommend, and if not, whether other stores in the region have it. The Costco item number on the top left of the display card is the easiest way for them to trace the wine. While it often shows in the picture of the wine display that you include, it is not always there. It will be very helpful to include it and thank you for a great blog.


Saturday 17th of June 2023

Thanks for the note Art. In addition to the Costco item number being included in the photo it is also listed at the end of every review. Some readers will also use the chat feature on to inquire via item number there too. Hope it helps you find some of these wines. Cheers


Saturday 10th of June 2023

Am I understanding right, when you say "mild oak" does that mean that there isn't much of a butter taste? I don't like the butter taste.

tom g.

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

@Frank, oak is oak(from barrel)and butter is from malo lactic fermentation.not all oaky wines are buttery but usually they are.


Saturday 10th of June 2023

Is this version buttery from the oak or more crisp?

Doug C

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

@Zvi: First, while it is true that the buttery flavor and mouthfeel is a result of the secondary process of malolactic fermentation (MLF) and its conversion of malic acid to lactic acid, it is also true that barrel-fermented Chardonnays, for example, intentionally undergo MLF while the wine is in oak in order to promote integration of the oak and lactic acid flavors. Thus the buttery flavor is often meant to be associated with oak.

Second, vintners on several continents quite frequently limit MLF in white wines in order to preserve a desirable crispness in the flavor profile. Rieslings and Gewürztraminers, for instance, are usually produced with no MLF at all. It has nothing to do with American vs. European tastes.

Third, a person who "know(s) anything about wine" will understand all this and will enjoy the green-apple crispness of malic acid when it is appropriately used to enhance the flavor profile of a great many very good white wines.


Sunday 11th of June 2023

@Russ, the buttery impression in a chardonnais does not come from the oak but from a Malo lactic conversion. This conversion is now often blocked because Americans who do not know anything about wine like the crispiness of malic acid...

Gary L

Saturday 10th of June 2023

I'm pretty sure the 2020 vintage was skipped due to the Napa wildfires and resulting shortage of surplus grapes from the area. I buy every Kirkland wine when I see them but never saw the 2020 hit shelves in the DC area.

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