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This is an awesome, highly approachable, drink anytime, Pinot Noir.  I love Pinots because you can pair them with just about anything, and in the summertime, when the whites start blending together, a Pinot is always the solution.

This bottle is $17.99 at Costco, and it is a fantastic Pinot in my opinion.  It’s as smooth as smooth gets.  I usually hate using the word “smooth” to describe wine but in this case, it tastes near perfect.  This wine is fresh, opening up with red berry flavors with some vanilla, a little pepper, subtle tannins and a lasting finish.  I enjoyed this bottle with a spicy veggie stir fry and it was absolutely perfect.

I’m a big fan and plan on adding a couple to the cellar.  I’m also putting this on our Silver Rated wine list, which typically doesn’t see many wines under $20.  And if you didn’t read my review of the Firepeak Chardonnay, it is also a big time winner.  This is a winery to remember. Rating: 92 Points
*Silver Rated*

Costco item number: 345740

Read More about 2009 Baileyana Firepeak Vineyard Pinot Noir

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

By Redneck Wine Guy

I’ll let you in on a little secret – wine is not my career.  Rather, I’m a sales guy who travels the globe selling my wares hoping that the next commission check will be enough to buy a case-or-two of the good stuff to collect, store, and share with family and friends. 


Today was an incredibly long day.  I am in Florida, and in one day traveled over 350 miles.  Upon arriving back to my hotel, the last thing I felt like doing was getting myself put together to end up sitting alone at a restaurant bar to eat most likely subpar food while drinking well-level booze and mindlessly surfing on my iPhone.  The brilliant idea of grabbing some snack foods and a bottle of wine to sit comfortably in my room was much more appealing.  Tonight I was looking for easy drinking – not cheap, just easy. 

I was drawn to the Oyster Bay Pinot Noir for several reasons – it was reasonably priced at $12, it had a screw top so I did not have to buy a wine opener/borrow a wine opener from the hotel, and there are some “hella good” (that is a Southern colloquial phrase shorting the expression “Hell of a Good”) wines coming out of New Zealand.  It was worth a shot.  

In color, this wine is light….like, a tad bit darker than a Rosé.  The legs are quick – if it was a woman, she would run a lot faster than a courting man could chase her.  The nose is very floral, and hints of ripe berries, vanilla, and a tad bit of spice.  This wine drinks young, and only opens slightly over time.  Upon first taste, this wine needs a bit of time to hang out.  This wine is 13.5% alcohol and rather unfortunately I think the taste of alcohol is too pronounced and slightly acidic.  The resounding profile I kept going back to time-and-time again was strawberry.  Abita Brewing Company out of Abita Springs, Louisiana makes a phenomenal seasonal lager called “Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager.”   There are a lot of parallels in my opinion to this wine and that beer.  The finish is moderate – you will not forget it after first sip, but it will not linger long into the night.  Absolutely a good buy at the price point.


Redneck Wine Guy Rating: 88 Points

Winery: Oyster Bay Vineyards

Varietal(s): 100% Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2011

Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Read More about 2011 Oyster Bay Pinot Noir

Young, bright and fruity and for $6.99 it’s not all that bad.  Very one dimensional though from beginning to end.  A very simple drink, that early stage Pinot fans may enjoy a bit more than others.  There’s really nothing to not like.  It’s just so basic.

The wine gives you little bursts of red fruit, almost reminding me of a cherry Laffy Taffy; tastes sweet and sugary on the finish, with maybe a little tobacco and smoke.

You’ll be hard pressed to find many CA Pinots that even exist in this price range, so I have to give them props for that.  If you’re looking for a decent mid-week drinker, here you go.  If you’re looking for much more, you will want to keep looking. Rating: 85 Points

Costco item number: 955147

Read More about 2012 Mirassou Pinot Noir

Once a year we assemble the Costco wines we rated the highest over the past 12 months. From glancing through the list, I think it’s safe to say that we found a lot of great wines at some fantastic prices. Our series in September on high end Costco wines provides quite a few placements on this list, but that’s not to say there weren’t some big bargains as well. 

As always, it’s going to be hard to find many of these wines since Costco moves their inventory so quickly (but I’ve seen at least 3-4 of these still available at Costco stores near me).  So keep an eye out.  These are all winners.  Click on the label to read our review of each wine. 

Thanks for another fun year. 
— Editor

91 Points

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91 Points

Read More about’s Highest Rated Wines of 2012

Wine Spectator just released their top 100 wines for 2012.  Here’s a PDF of the list.

A reader of our website suggested we try to list which of the wines from the list were available at Costco. I thought it was a fantastic idea.  But given the different selection of wines in Costco stores around the country, I thought it would be best to ask for help from all of our readers.

If you see any of the wines on the list, please tell everyone what you found and where on the Costco Wine Blog Facebook page.  Also, please list price, and of course any tasting notes if you’ve already opened the wine.

I’ll start by listing a few of the wines from the list that I’ve seen at Costco stores in Atlanta in the last few months (in some cases different vintages).

#51 Bodega Norton Malbec Mendoza Reserva 2010 (my review of the 2008 vintage)

#58 Perrin & Fils Vinsobres Les Cornuds 2010 (my review of the 2007 vintage)

#92 Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009 (my review of this wine.  Scored it a point ahead of WS)



So keep an eye out next time you hit your local Costco, and please report back anything you find.  I plan on hitting a few more stores to see what I can find. 

— Editor

Read More about Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012 at Costco

It’s always fun to find a $11.59 Oregon Pinot Noir at Costco. And this one was even more interesting given that it’s from the Rogue Valley. This wine would have been nice for the Thanksgiving Picks we posted earlier this week.

This is a dark Pinot, in the glass and on the palate; it felt a little heavier on the palate than other Pinots.  Flavors of black fruit, plum, and blackberry come through first, then it’s more spicy cherry toward the finish. Finish is nice and got better and longer with a little air.

Overall a nice package for under $12.  Definitely recommend for almost any meal. Rating: 88 Points

Costco item number: 526760

Read More about 2009 Foris Pinot Noir

The Kirkland Signature Russian River Pinot Noir is a staple at Costco during the fall months. I’ve reviewed quite a few of the past vintages of this wine and have found them to be nice for the money ($12.99).

I think the 2011 vintage is one of the better ones of the last few years.  It’s really young, ripe and fresh which sometimes can mask anything interesting about the wine, but the winemakers have really balanced in some nice spicy notes, and created a nice, light Pinot Noir that I could drink all day long. 

It’s a good bargain at this price point, and one that I would certainly pick up again.  Plus, you can drink this with almost any meal. Rating: 87 Points 

Costco item number: 555512

Read More about 2011 Kirkland Signature Russian River Pinot Noir

I’m happy to announce the publication of my latest wine book titled Around the Wine World in 40 Pages: An Exploration Guide for the Beginning Wine Enthusiast.

It’s $3.99 for the Kindle with a physical version coming down the line. The book takes readers on a journey throughout the most popular and notable wine growing regions in the world, providing an inside perspective on what wine drinkers at all experience levels need to know about the grapes and styles from each region, along with the price points and suggestions on specific wines to try.  I even include references to a lot of wines that can be found at Costco.  I hope you enjoy.
— Editor

Read More about New Wine Book – Just Published: Around the Wine World in 40 Pages