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Reviewed by Redneck Wine Guy

Here’s the setting – the last night of vacation on the South Carolina coast.  My family decided for a night-in watching a movie, and I decided to do the farthest from it.  Why sit inside on a perfect beautiful night at the beach when you can enjoy the last moments of mindless existence before returning to the real world of endless e-mails and voicemails.  I popped the bottle of aforementioned vino, and after doing the sniff, pour, swirl, swish, taste regime I proceeded to pour a big glass and head out for the shore.    As you may have guessed, I was engaged in some self-questioning and doubt….should I really have proceeded with this plan, on a hot and muggy night, with a glass of Zinfandel?  The other imbibers on the beach were toting beers, frozen cocktails of various incantations, and a few bottles of far-too-chilled whites.  I was the lone guy on the beach with not only a red, but a zinfandel with the hue of octopus ink.  

Upon first steps I thought I should have done the same – a cool Cuba Libré with a lime wheel would have been a spectacular choice.  But nay, instead, a glass of full-bodied red.  Well, I can attest that the evening decision was an amazing experience – solitude in nature with a glass of wine that improved and proved itself as I meandered along the sandy beach, collecting shells, and taking some pictures so I could share with my family what they were missing. 


A word of caution – the boutique and tasting notes of this wine are very much closed upon first opening.  While no wine should be solely judged upon first corking, this one especially falls into that category.  Give it some time – wine, along with life, should be enjoyed slowly and given time to expose all it has to offer.


After some walking, swirling, and sipping what was first a mediocre bottle I began to see why this family has been in the wine business since 1895.  Zinfandels usually fall into one of two categories – good/great or really bad.  Drinkable vs. non-drinkable.  This is a perfectly drinkable wine – the nose and taste of black cherry are well pronounced, a hint of ripe blackberry in the middle, with a spicy yet rounded finish of toned-down peppercorn.  I’d also throw in that there is a subtle taste of fresh chewing tobacco, but only a certain segment of the reading population would appreciate that side note!   The mouth feel is jammy and coats your tongue, but not enough so to turn away the average wine drinker.     

Overall, a good value Zin that you can be proud to serve to your family and friends.  Scouring the internet I found pricing between $17 – $26.  Personally, I think anything over $20 is a little steep for this one, but give it a while in the cellar and a breathing period once opened and I imagine you’ll get your value for the price.  After my evening experience, no matter the price it’s a hell of a better value than a cheap can of beer would have been! 


-Redneck Wine Guy rating – 90
Costco item number:
Price at Costco: $18.99

Read More about 2011 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel

It’s Saturday, which means a lot of you are probably heading to your local Costco, and for $12.69, this is a label you’ll want to keep an eye out for.

This is Monastrell from the Alicante region of Spain, and it’s some of the best Monastrell I’ve tried for this price.  Nose is spicy, with hints of tobacco and on the palate the wine is luscious with dark fruit, blackberry, plum, a little earth and leather.  The finish is why I like Monstrell; it’s spicy and complete. 

The all around balance and execution of this wine is top notch and you’d be hard pressed to find many bottles of this caliber in this price range.  For that reason, I’m naming it to the Bronze Rated and Value Pick lists.  This is a real winner (and it scored 93 points from Wine Advocate if you’re a points person). Rating: 90 Points
*Value Pick*
*Bronze Rated*

Costco item number: 750941

Read More about 2010 Bodegas Volver Tarima Hill Monastrell

It’s a real treat every year when these Kirkland Chateauneufs hit the shelves.  You just can’t get into this region for the price that Costco offers ($20) and the wine this year is superb as always.

This is a Rhone blend consisting of 58% Grenache, 23% Syrah, 13% Counoise-Vaccarese, 4% Cinsault and 2% Muscardin-Mourvedre.  Don’t let a few of the less familiar grapes deter you.  This is a solid Rhone red at an unbeatable price.  Here’s my review of the 2010 (which was a great year), and this year stacks up about the same.  An easy Silver Rated wine for the site.

Perfect dark fruit and berry flavor, spice that hits your nose as you take each drink, young juicy mouthfeel that would only get better with a little more age, and a finish that’s near perfection.  This one could run for a while in the bottle and it might be kind of a fun experiment to drink it again in 2-3 years.  If it’s still around I might try to snag some for the cellar. 

Great wine.  A red wine lover’s dream at this price.  Must buy. Rating: 92 Points (a point up from last year)
*Silver Rated*

Costco item number: 777662

Read More about 2011 Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf-du-pape

Really enjoyed this one and a beautiful execution of Carmenere at a Costco price of only $13.99. 

Fresh and vibrant nose, then blueberry and dark fruit combine with chocolate flavors on the palate.  Finish retains that fresh fruit, dry, chalky and lasting.  Getting a little stone/slate on the finish too as a little time passes. 

A fun one for a change from the usual varietals. Give it a shot with some hamburgers off the grill this summer. Rating: 89 Points

Costco item number: 736192

Read More about 2010 Concha Y Toro Gran Reserva Carmenere Serie Riberas

A nice mountain Cabernet that I found for $33.99 at my Costco.  This wine took a while to open up.  It was super closed up at first and I was a little worried.  But as an hour or so past, it started to show its true colors and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It’s blended with a few other varietals so the final make up is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, & 2% Petite Verdot. Quality Napa nose, dark as could be in the glass, the wine definitely ramps up to a great finish.  Flavor is dark fruit, blueberry, black currant, black licorice and black berry.  Definitely a little stickiness to the finish which is great.  Dusty and dry on the close too, which demands a red meat dish.

A good wine at a fair price.  I’m a fan of the mountain wines so will gravitate toward them a bit more.  If you’re looking for more of the juicy Napa Cabs you might want to stick closer in the valley. Rating: 90 Points

Costco item number: 123399

Read More about 2010 Terra Valentine Spring Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

I just realized this Rhone bottle from Kirkland was a Villages, which is even better.  At $6.99 this is the steal of all steals for readers who enjoy their Rhone reds.

It’s signature Rhone all around, with the depth and richness I would expect from a bottle that cost at least twice as much.  As regular readers know, I love these wines, and truly believe they offer some of the best bang for the buck in the entire world of wine.  Here’s a perfect entry point for any doubters.

This wine is comprised of the classic Rhone varietals, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, and they come together beautifully.   Nose is spicy, earthy, and then just massive fruit on the palate.  Jammy dark fruit, blackberry, blueberry, a touch of chocolate, maybe some red licorice; which leads into the clean, slightly spicy finish.  Here’s your everyday red wine.  Stock up.  It’s a bargain at this price.  And a good BBQ wine for the summer. Rating: 89 Points
*Value Pick*
*Kirkland Wine*

Costco item number: 887774

Read More about 2011 Kirkland Signature Cotes du Rhone Villages

A solid red blend from a consistent producer.  This is a nice big rich wine that’s fruity, meaty and accessible.  Great food wine and a good buy all around for $13.99 at Costco.

The blend consists of 60% Merlot, 28% Syrah, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Grenache, 2% Malbec, 0.5% Cinsault, 0.5% Mourvedre.  I’m a fan of the Indian Wells Merlot, so having the Merlot dominate is fine with me.  I actually completed a recent Napa trip where I saw more and more Merlot based red blends from many of the big and small guys.  The Merlot really helps give it the richness for the other grapes to round out around. 

Nose smells young, fresh, floral.  Big red fruit flavor, cherry, strawberry, raspberry; forest floor aromas and turns a little spicy toward the finish.  Finish is dry and lasting.  This wine tasted almost exactly like I thought (and hoped) it would.  A good buy at this price. Rating: 90 Points

Costco item number: 708779

Read More about 2010 Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red Blend

I really enjoyed this one.  The minute you smell this wine you can tell it’s a winner.  At $23.99 it’s a good buy for right bank Bordeaux (Merlot based blend) fans, of which I seem to be becoming more and more of myself.  And 2010 was a blockbuster year in Bordeaux.

Again, the nose is what gets me.  It immediately reminds you of a high end Cab or Merlot, even one from CA.  Floral, graphite, finesse and on the palate you get some excellent dark fruit, black cherry, black licorice and pepper; tannins are still a tad tight leaning me to think this one would get better in the years to come.  Strong, lingering finish.  I had intended to grill a steak with this wine but didn’t get properly prepped and I missed out.

Fun food wine, nice execution all around and a good price from Costco on a big Bordeaux year.  Highly recommend. Rating: 91 Points

Costco item number: 695716

Read More about 2010 Chateau Boutisse Saint-Emilion Bordeaux

This is a hodge podge of different varietals, most of which I believe come from the Geyser Peak Sonoma estate, but I’m not certain.  It definitely has Merlot, Cab and Syrah in the mix.  It almost has so much going on that everyone will find the taste appealing.  And it’s not a bad buy at $11.99 at Costco.

Kind of mushroomy on the nose, fruit forward on the palate.  Flavors of cherry, dark fruit, black licorice and a little vegetal on the finish.  A bit of spice thrown in the mix as well toward the close.

This is the perfect wine for novice wine drinkers who visit your house.  They will love it.  Now as I get a little snobby, I will try to admit that if I went to someone’s house and they served this, I would enjoy it too.  It’s that kind of wine.  Easy to please, almost everyone. Rating: 87 Points

Costco item number: 753741

Read More about 2011 Geyser Peak Uncensored Red Blend

This bottle is a reader favorite and it seems to swing in and out of my Costco without any regular schedule.  But if you see it buy it.  This is a heck of a good bargain for only $11.79.  Seldomly do you see Barossa wines this inexpensive.

And what a perfect time to drink this one.  It’s just right, with a little time in the bottle to mellow out.  The heavy pepper you get in many Australian wines can sometimes turn me off, but this wine is soft, with hints of pepper on the close, and overall is packed with vibrant red fruit flavor. 

I enjoyed it through and through, particularly after a bit of air, as the wine opened up.  This doesn’t at all taste like a $12 bottle.  I’d highly recommend scooping some up if you see them. Rating: 90 Points

Costco item number: 650452

Read More about 2010 Small Gully Mr Blacks Little Book Shiraz

An enjoyable big red blend from Spain’s Montsant region that is a fairly good bargain for only $11.59.  This is still pretty young but drinks nice right now, fresh and clean.

The Bula is a blend of three varietals – 40% Mazuelo, 40% Grenache and 20% Syrah – so it’s my kind of blend and the wine comes together quite nicely.  Floral nose, not as earthy as I was expecting.  Very fresh again. Flavors of red fruit, spicy cherry, red licorice with a little mineral.  Quick burst of spice on the finish.

A very good buy for under $12, food friendly and a good crowd pleaser if you have a group. Rating: 87 Points

Costco item number: 734143

Read More about 2011 Bula Montsant

 Great price on this one at Costco. I found it at a Reno, NV Costco for $39.99. Online it looks like $50+. And it’s a very nice wine for the money.

Comprised of Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec the wine is very elegant and soft while possessing layers of flavor and spice. Nose is a little Malbecy, some spice and earth; in the mouth the wine is just luscious; soft tannins, gentle. Flavors of dark fruit, blueberry, a little cherry; coats the mouth nicely into a dry lasting finish. Amazing balance of all these elements. This is a very nice wine.

I’m going to go Silver on this one. For $40 it is just what you want. Glad I picked this one up and know about it now. A good one to impress your boss if they like wine. Rating: 94 Points

Read More about 2009 Flora Springs Trilogy

Great offering here; probably one of the better Kirkland values I’ve come across in a while. I scooped this up for $13.99 but swear I’ve seen it in stores for closer to $20.

I’m a big Rutherford fan so am naturally attracted to this one, but it’s a very nice blend from one of Napa’s premier areas at a bargain price. Still a bit young and closed on the nose, but after a little time it opened up nicely. Vibrant blackberry and dark fruit flavors, maybe a little black licorice, brown sugar and tobacco mid-palate.  Finish is superb and lasting.

The blend is 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc (I actually guessed a bit more Cab Franc, tastes like it to me).  Really blended perfectly.  They did a nice job on this one for only $14.00. Rating: 90 Points


Costco item number: 999309

Read More about 2011 Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage

This is an amazing wine especially for $16.99 at my Costco. I would drink this one all day long. It easily tastes like a $30-$40 bottle with its elegance and notable Italian character.

Comprised of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, the wine has a little of that old world, earthy Italian aroma on the nose, then opens up with inviting flavors of cherry, red fruit, spice and tobacco.  Finishes up dry and lingering.

This is my third or fourth experience with this wine, and I’m always amazed at what they pack in here for the price.  A Bronze Rated and Value Pick.  Scoop these up. Rating: 91 Points

Costco item number: 799299

Read More about 2008 Villa Antinori Toscana