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2011 Can Blau Montsant

  Anytime I see a new Spanish wine at Costco I’m immediately intrigued (especially at 15.5% alc).  Among the pallets and pallets of wine was this unassuming, under the radar Spanish blend going for $11.99.  

This wine is 40% Mazuelo, 40% Syrah, and 20% Garnacha.  Mazuelo is the name used for Carignan in the Rioja region of northern Spain.  It’s also the third most planted varietal in Spain.  Because of it’s strong acidity it’s most often used as a blending grape.  The nose gives off an aroma of fruit and acidity.  I was surprised that after a few minutes of air how the garnacha started to show itself and complement the strong acidity.  In between the Syrah was well represented carrying the fruit through to a short, chalky finish.  Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at the blend of these grapes.

I’m curious to see what a little less Mazuelo and a little more Garnacha would do to this wine.  Maybe next year…
— Adam L

Rating 88

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French Wine Book Volume 2 Now Available

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

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2009 Bodegas Ramon Bilbao Limited Edition Rioja

I just came back from a high end Napa tasting at my local wine shop where I had some excellent Mountain and Rutherford Cabs.  I opened this to have one more glass and was surprised at how well it stood up since my palate was dialed into more new world wines that cost much more than this one did ($12.99 at Costco).

The nose projects nice dark cherry aromas, a little chocolate and some earth.  Palate and mid-palate this wine really holds up well.  Rich flavors, more cherry, red fruit, licorice that is smooth and fruity.  Finishes subtlety at first with a nice fruit kick that’s dry and lasting.

This one tastes a few years older than it really is; a nice elegance at a favorable price.  A good buy for sure. Rating: 89 Points

Costco item number: 786005

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2010 Bodegas Volver Tarima Hill Monastrell

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

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2010 Bodegas Lar De Paula Rioja Tempranillo

This Rioja is just perfect all around and a joy to drink.  The timing couldn’t be better as the tannins have really softened and the wine just cushions in the mouth. 

Great balance of every component.  The nose is fresh, floral and a little spicy. Big cherry and rich red fruit flavors on the palate surrounded by those soft tannins. Drink after drink you want to go in for more. This leads into a stunning finish with hints of oak and spice that lingers for a long time.

I misplaced my purchase notes on this wine so I don’t have a Costco item number or the price I paid.  I believe it was around $15-$20 which makes this an incredible buy.  Definitely grab this one if you see it, especially if you like big, juicy and finely executed worldly reds.  A Silver Rated wine for me. Rating: 92 Points
*Silver Rated*

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2009 Palacios Remondo La Montesa Rioja

This is a lovely one for only $13.49.  It’s big on flavor and lasting on the finish, making it a perfect food wine, or just an enjoyable experience on its own.  A solid buy at this price.

It’s an ’09 so it benefits from a little time, which really makes right now a good time to drink it.  I think it’s perfect timing but that won’t change in the next few years to come.  Nothing special about the nose, and it leads on to the quality to come.  In the mouth, this one is packed with red fruit, strawberry, hints of leather and then almost black licorice, which seems a little odd around the other red fruit.  But really really nice.  Perfect, through to the finish. Even better with some air time. 

Red wine fans looking for a great wine at a great price don’t need to look further.   This is going on the Value Picks list, and I plan on grabbing a few more if I see them. Rating: 91 Points

*Value Pick*

Costco item number: 369408

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2011 Bula Montsant

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

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2010 Tranco Monastrell Cabernet Sauvignon

A fair price for only $8.49 but as far as these low priced Spanish reds go, I think this one is pretty middle of the road. In fact, I found the 2010 Hecula Monastrell from a week or so ago, to be a more enjoyable wine and it’s even less expensive.

The story with the Tranco is this.  A good wine.  Ripe, fresh.  A bit quiet from the get go, but on the palate, begins to show it’s true colors.  The Monastrell brings a little spice, some nice dark fruit and it’s balanced nicely with the Cab’s boldness.  Finish is on the weak side.  The wine comes on and disappears pretty quickly.

For the price, it’s a decent buy.  If you want to experiment with these reds a bit, give this one a shot.  It’s from Yecla which is almost always a good sign but I’d keep my eye out for other wines from this region.  They might cost a few dollars more but I think the jump in quality would be worth it. Rating: 85 Points

Costco item number: 721763

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2010 Bodegas Castano Hecula Monastrell

I bought this one among 5 or so other bottles and just figured at $6.89 why not? I’ve had some nice Monastrells before and figured this would be fine. But it turned out to be quite the bargain for under $7, a price point where you rarely find good drinkable reds. The more and more I dug into this one, I was really looking forward to every new drink.  This is a solid buy.

Monastrell is a Spanish red grape that has a fair amount of fruit and (particularly in this incarnation) has a dry tannic firmness to it. Some people may not love that, but I did. It’s food friendly without being overbearing.  Young, ripe with a dusty red fruit flavor that’s peaks rather quickly.  Fast on the finish too, but what can you really expect in this price range.

This is a Value Pick all the way, and a good one to check out.  Not for everybody but at $7 it’s hard for me not to like it. Rating: 87 Points
*Value Pick*

Costco item number: 600967

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2008 Celler Malondro Besllum Montsant

This is a lovely wine, and I hate to say I was surprised (since it’s from Montsant), but it certainly met my already somewhat high expectations. I just haven’t had many wines from Montsant that I didn’t think were great for the price. It’s a killer region, and this wine is a fantastic bargain for only $12.99 at Costco.

The wine really does leap out of the bottle.  Big aromas, red fruit, juicy, lots of ripe red cherry, red licorice, then a little cedar and spice on the finish. 

(15 minutes later) Now the wine has had a little air, and it’s getting even better.  The red fruit flavor keeps magnifying.  This is a fun one.  Grapes are Grenache, Carignane, and Syrah, which frequent readers of this site will know are some of my favorite grapes especially in European blends such as this.  So maybe I’m a little biased.  Try it for yourself, and let us know.  I’m going with a low 90’s rating and placing this one on our Bronze Rated wine list. Rating: 91 Points
*Bronze Rated*

Costco item number: 600976

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2008 Embuix de Vall Llach Priorat

A balanced red blend from Spain’s famed Priorat region which is just a huge bargain for only $18.99 at Costco. This was a fun wine given its varietal makeup: 30% Garnacha, 25% Carinyena, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah and 10% Merlot.  Anytime you find a Priorat wine for under $20, it’s typically a safe bet.

The wine is super dark on the pour with a nose of spice, earth and pepper; softer on the palate than I was expecting (great mouthfeel) and as the wine got some air it really started to open up.  Dark fruit flavors, leather notes, dusty and a little chalky toward the finish but the flavor holds through.

Definitely a little different but the blend is masterful.  This is a great Costco buy. Rating: 90 Points
*Bronze Rated*

Costco item number: 181390

Read More about 2008 Embuix de Vall Llach Priorat’s Highest Rated Wines of 2012

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

93 Points

94 Points

94 Points

95 Points 



 92 Points

91 Points

92 Points

 92 Points

92 Points

91 Points

91 Points

92 Points

91 Points

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Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012 at Costco

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

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2009 Creta Roble Ribera Del Duero

This has ‘ridiculous value’ written all over it. Anytime I see a Ribera Del Duero bottle under $15 I have to scoop it up. This one was $11.49 at my Costco and I swear I’ve had this before and paid more than that for it (and still thought it was a good value).

This bottle is 100% Tempranillo from a 70 year old vineyard.  It has a fantastic feel to it immediately noticeable on the nose, but on the palate, the tannins are gentle and soft.  Flavor band starts with more dark fruit but ends on cherry, red licorice notes.  Finish is perhaps a little brisk.  But this wine remains stellar at this price, and is super food friendly.

I’ll add it to our Value Picks, and highly recommend you give this one a try if you see it. Rating: 90 Points

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