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It’s nice to see more 2012 Napa Cabs starting to roll in as the rather unimpressive 2011s are hopefully beginning to cycle through.  2012 was a banner year, and when you see the Mondavi Cab available for only $19.99 at Costco, it’s certainly worth exploring. This wine is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon obviously, but also contains …

Read More about 2012 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

At the end of every year we look back at the previous 12 months of reviews and assemble a list of the highest rated wines we enjoyed from Costco. But first let’s take a quick look back at 2014, which was another big year for the site.  We moved to a new hosting platform and responsive design …

Read More about’s Highest Rated Wines of 2014

It’s always difficult to find the perfect Thanksgiving wine that everyone will unanimously agree pairs perfect with the hodge podge of food and flavors that are typically served on Thanksgiving tables around the country.  I tend to opt for a variety of different wines, and enjoy tasting them all at the same time with the …

Read More about 2014 Costco Wine Thanksgiving Picks

I’m a big fan of a lot of Napa’s mountain cabs -Diamond, Howell, Spring, Atlas Peak – and they typically carry with them a price tag starting at $40 and going up from there.  So it was a nice treat to see the Kirkland Signature Series Mountain Cuvee at stores and priced at only $19.99.  And …

Read More about 2011 Kirkland Signature Series Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Mountain Cuvee

   Not my favorite Cabernet and at $18.99 the price is a little steep for this guy.  It’s a decent wine, assembled from all over Napa “county” in a bad growing year, but it really doesn’t break through the muted dark fruit, black licorice and plum flavors to reveal any real depth or complexity; the wine finishes fast.  It feels really constrained all the way through, even after a few hours of air.

I would recommend passing on this bottle for $20 and look for a nice French Cotes du Rhone, or any Spanish wine in the same price range. Rating: 86 Points (ok wine, too expensive)
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Costco item number: 413826

Read More about 2011 Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County


Wait, wait, wait.  Pretty great!   That pretty much summarizes the Casarena Reserva 2011 Cabernet.   It is made from 82-year-old vines and the mature vines show:  this is a rich, plush Cabernet with a nose of prune, blackberry, coffee and toast.  But, like a bad first date, this wine doesn’t show-off much on the first day.   When it finally emerged from a self-imposed exile on the 2nd and 3rd days, some really lovely characteristics began to show.


The palate was very soft, ripe, and supple. This does not drink like a typical Cabernet Sauvignon, typical of the South American Cabs.    Instead of complexity, it is plush and lush:  Medium-dark ruby; sleek, glossy, good legs. Nice aroma of vanilla bean and white pepper, with some nice lingering fruit in the finish.  By the 4th day (yes, I waited that long to finish the bottle) it continued to drink very nicely – long legs and long life!   I found that I had to wait, but this wine came through.   Decanting is a must and a second date is highly recommended.   For the price, this wine offers a lot, but not early.   


Note:  The pricing suggests that Costco may be phasing out this wine.   The early birds will likely be the only ones get this wine.   Happy hunting.

– Review by Michael S


Rating:  90 (for value)

Price: $14.89

Costco Item #: 712496

Purchased at Costco in: San Diego, California

Read More about 2011 Casarena Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a big meaty Cab, packed with flavor and distinctive Mendoza style.  It’s a real bargain for $15.59 at Costco.  As the winter months approach, this one will warm you up.  Enjoy it with a hearty red meat dish.

This wine really changed with some air.  At first the nose was earthy and spicy, but after an hour or so, it became much more floral.  In the mouth, the wine feels soft and juicy at first, then the big body and flavor creeps in and hits you with a burst of energy.  Flavors of dark fruit, blackberry with hints of leather, tobacco and black licorice.  The wine picks up its spice notes toward the finish.  This is a nice bottle for the money. Rating: 88 Points
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Costco item number: 784198

Read More about 2011 Tapiz Alta Collection Cabernet Sauvignon

  As the nights get colder in Southern California, sitting down with a bottle of red wine on a Saturday evening sounds better and better.  I’ve had this Kirkland Napa County Cabernet on hand for about two weeks and decided tonight was the night to take it out for a spin.

As I poured what would be my first taste, the wine color was deep purple and it’s nose exhibited traditional black fruited currant flavors.  Unfortunately, my first sip was disappointing.  Maybe I expected more because the Kirkland brand has delivered some great value wines, but this one clearly needed some time to open up and figure out how it wanted to present itself.  To those that pop and pour, beware.  If you judge it right out of the bottle you will be disappointed.  

For those just getting into red wine, that brings up an important point.  After being in a bottle a while, most wines need time to open up and let being exposed to air do it’s thing.  Couldn’t be truer in the case of this wine.  I decided to decant the bottle and forget about it a couple hours.

Coming back to the wine and starting over gave it a second chance to impress.  This wine has some good qualities, but they seem out of order.  There’s a quick rush of black fruit which isn’t as ripe as I hoped and held it back.  Before I could think more about the fruit, I was greeted with traces of oak and chocolate, soon to be followed by a surprising tasty dusty cocoa flavor that lingered momentarily (which happened to be my favorite part).

This wine sells for $12.99 and I’ve seen it at a few Costcos.  Give it a good amount of time and it will not disappoint in the end considering you don’t have high expectations.
— Adam L

Rating 86 Points

Read More about 2011 Kirkland Signature Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon

  This is a blended red from different California vineyards, hence the 815 label, and was $13.99 at my Costco.  A quick online search will show this wine for a dollar or two cheaper at various outlets, so the Costco price seems decent overall.  As for the wine, it is a subtle Cab, blended very well to create an easy drinking bold red.  The vineyards include regions such as Sonoma, Paso, Lodi and Lake County, all great areas, and each one brings a little something different to the wine. 

The nose is young, floral with hints of cinnamon; flavors of fresh cherry, blueberry, more cinnamon; the flavors come as kind of a quick pop and the wine settles into a slow smooth, dusty finish.  2011 wasn’t the best year for California, and I was told by winemakers on a recent trip to Napa to be picky about what to buy; but this wine seems to come together.  It’s a nice food wine, and an ok buy for CA Cabs overall. Rating: 86 Points

Costco item number: 236764

Read More about 2011 Joel Gott Blend No. 815 Cabernet Sauvignon

Here’s a Costco staple that I haven’t reviewed in some time.  This bottle, from winemaster Tuck Beckstoffer who rarely disappoints, is only $19.79, and it’s a solid California Cabernet in the always popular under $20 offerings.

Nose was tight at first, a little floral and pepper to note.  On the palate the fruit is just fantastic; ripe and pure blueberry, blackberry, cedar, a touch of green pepper.  I wanted to learn a bit more about the fruit and found the following line from the 75 Wine Company website: “…a blend from our Lake County vineyards, Mendocino fruit and Valley floor fruit from our beloved Napa Valley.”  Beckstoffer seems to own grapes everywhere and can really pick and choose how to make his wines to deliver great quality for the dollar.

Finish brings a touch of pepper, a little dry and very smooth.

This is a good buy and a solid California wine for the money.  It also seems to be pretty widely available at a lot of Costco stores so I hope you can find it. Rating: 90 Points

Costco item number: 241276

Read More about 2011 Est 75 Cabernet Sauvignon

This is an awesome Washington State Cab I found for $16.79 at my Costco.  I would have guessed its price to be almost double this, and I wouldn’t have been disappointed if I had paid it.

Nose is fresh, floral and earthy;  in the mouth, the first thing you notice is the beautiful tannic structure.  This wine feels like it’s about 5 years older than it is since the tannins are so subtle; love this mouthfeel.  Fruit is dark berry, tobacco, a little black licorice and pepper spice, but young and fresh.  Finish is amazing for something in this price range.  Long, touch of spice, sticky.

I’m really impressed.  This one hit me right across the board.  I’m going to add it to our Bronze Rated wine list, and highly recommend you try it.  I’m going to buy a couple more to keep on hand.  These are the kind of wines I like to try a year or two later and see how they’ve changed. Rating: 91 Points
*Bronze Rated*

Costco item number: 345392

Read More about 2011 Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon

I’ve been working diligently on the latest version of my French Wine Book, “Decoding French Wine: A Beginner’s Guide to Enjoying the Fruits of the French Terroir,” and I’m happy to say that this new second edition is live today on

The Kindle version is only $3.99 and it includes information on major French wine regions including Bordeaux, Loire, Burgundy, Alsace, Rhone, Languedoc-Roussillon and Champagne.  This book is short and conscise, written to help the beginner wine drinker become more familiar with French wines that may seem overly complicated and complex.

I wanted to really make this simple to digest, and to help turn more people on to these amazing wines.  If you’ve followed this site for a while, you know I have a tendency to review many of the French wines, particularly the 2010 Bordeaux because they are an amazing vintage. But I also look at many other French wines and regions, because the value is typically so great, especially at Costco. So here’s a chance to boost your knowledge and ultimately, your enjoyment, of these awesome wines.

Download a free sample chapter here.

Thanks for supporting this site.

Andrew, Editor

Read More about French Wine Book Volume 2 Now Available