It’s hard to believe it’s already been a full year since we posted our last round up of our Highest Rated Costco Wines. Maybe it’s all the wine we’ve been drinking, but it seems like the last 12 months have flown by.
Before we dig into the latest list of highest rated wines, I want to first thank all you for continuing to follow the site. We love doing this, and feel fortunate to have such a great group of readers, and the site just keeps growing which is amazing.
One thing we wanted to do this year was to better connect readers; to create a place where we can all benefit from each other’s knowledge of Costco wines, particularly those in various local markets. So we created the Costco Wine Blog forums, which I encourage all of you to check out and sign up for. Please share your opinion about the wines we review and share great wines that you find in Costco stores near you.
Now for the list. The way we compile this list is pretty easy; we look back over all the wines we reviewed in the past 12 months, and grab the ones we rated the highest, usually 91+ points.
Granted many of these wines may be long gone from Costco stores, as they turn inventory so fast, but hopefully you can still find a few of these (they do make surprise reappearances occasionally); or perhaps you’ll see them elsewhere and still have a chance to taste them.
So let’s get into it (click on the wine title or image to go to our full review); here are our Highest Rated Costco Wines of 2018:
2012 Hidalgo Tradicion H Rioja
We started off the year going 92 points on this excellent Rioja that was only $15 at Costco (about half of retail). We noted this is a “lovely wine that feels great in the mouth and is expressive as could be. Massive flavor and depth of profile. Just luscious to a point where it’s hard to stop drinking. Dark fruit, blackberry, anise, dry, sticky in the finish. So much to like here.” And this is one of those wines that I’ve heard has reappeared in stores this fall, so keep an eye out for it.
2015 Kirkland Signature Pauillac Bordeaux
It should come as no surprise that the first Kirkland wine to hit this list would be a major winner, and one of the wines we look forward to tasting throughout the year. The Kirkland Pauillac Bordeaux was excellent in the highly regarded ’15 vintage. We noted “This wine is a combo of red and dark fruit, oak accents towards the finish which is super dry. Nice depth throughout and amazing mouthfeel that I expect will only develop further with age.” We rated the wine 92 points and it is priced at only $23 which is insane for a wine from this premier region.
2010 Baron de Ley Gran Reserva Rioja
Bam, another ridiculous Rioja buy in this Gran Reserva that we rated 93 points. Costco’s price? $22. Plus it already has a little age built into it so it’s ready to rock n roll right now. We noted “big time cigar box on the nose and throughout, cedar toward the beginning and more oak towards the finish…Flavors are predominantly dark fruit, blackberry with black cherry, anise, and a little vegetal component towards the very dry finish…So well done for the money it’s hard to compare to other $20 bottles from anywhere else in the world.” Enough said there.
2014 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape
I almost feel like we’re cheating when we put the Beaucastel Chateauneuf on this list because it’s made it on here seemingly every year. The reason being is that it remains a ridiculously good buy at Costco and a consistently great wine year in and year out. It’s $70 at Costco, but $100 across the street at Total Wine, so we’re getting a good price. We went 93 points and noted: “medium plus in body, with earthy aromas, a little smoke and dark fruit on the nose; more licorice, and red fruit, spicy cherry in the mouth, with herbs and pepper entering the mix towards the finish.”
2012 Foncalieu Les Illustres Coteaux d’Enserune
A great wine and an interesting story here. Eight winegrowers joined forces with the goal of creating a special wine from the Coteaux d’Ensérune which is located in France’s Languedoc region. The result is a delicious wine that we went 92 points on, noting the “…nose becomes quite lovely actually as the wine gets some air. It’s medium to full in body, very spicy throughout, which I enjoy, reminiscent of a top notch Rhone wine (Gigondas comes to mind).” It was $26 and I still see this one floating around stores near us in the Atlanta area. Keep an eye out.
2012 Bodega Carmen Rodriguez Carodorum Seleccion Especial Reserva Toro
Another big time winner from Spain. 96 points from Wine Enthusiast and a retail price of $110; Costco is selling it for $28.99. We noted “This is a beautiful wine that is giant in body and flavor but also generously elegant with a modern feel.” And like a few others on the list, I’m pretty sure this one is still lingering around in a few stores near us. We went a solid 93 points; great buy here.
2014 Two Hands Bellas Garden Shiraz Barossa Valley
This bottle (like the Beaucastel above) is just impressive every single year, and this 2014 vintage fell right in line. Costco’s price was $46, which is off of a retail closer to $70. We really enjoyed this wine, noting it: “has a beautiful nose, distinctive and pleasant; spicy with forest scents. Excellent mouth feel, with more spice and peppercorn; flavors of dark cherry, blackberry, and anise; leather notes towards the finish which is dry and absolutely insane how long it lasts.” Highly recommend this wine if you love spicy shiraz and haven’t tried it before.
2015 Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Chardonnay Alexander Valley
Not many whites on this list, but we had a few that landed close in the 90-91 range. This Stonestreet Chardonnay just hit us right across the board. It was $26, which is off a retail of $40-45. We noted “This is a killer Chardonnay drinking way above its price tag, and the 2015 vintage follows suit. You can check out the wine’s historical ratings here on the Wine.com page, and they are consistently in the low to mid 90’s which is beyond impressive.”
2012 12 Linajes Reserva Tempranillo Ribera del Duero
Do we have room for one more Spanish wine? Sure we do buy a lot of these, but that’s because the price to value ratio remains hard to beat. Wine Enthusiast went 94 points on this wine that has a retail price of $40. Costco is selling it for $27. We noted “Spicy, earthy, floral on the nose; big cherry flavor rounded out by some dark fruit; full bodied and powerful; a little of that old world dusty library book; and a dry sticky finish.”
So that’s our list for 2018. There were so many wines that were close to making it so I encourage you to check out all of Top Picks which represent all the wines we recommend, most of which we rated 90+ points. But what we listed here was the cream of the crop we tasted.
You’ll note we listed lots of Spanish wines. There is so much quality and value there right now it’s outrageous. That’s why we decided to write a book all about the regions and the awesome wines of Spain (coming out very soon).
I’m sure there are many more great bottles we didn’t have the chance to taste. Please let us know in the comments below and on the forums. We’re on the look out for them just like you, so please don’t hold back. What are you drinking from Costco right now? What were some of your favorites from 2018?
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Andrew and Erin