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2008 Bodegas Poesia Pasodoble Mendoza

   I find most wines from Mendoza to be at least a good bargain and this one certainly follows suit for only $10.99 at Costco.  This is a nice red blend, consisting of 45% Malbec, 35% Syrah, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.

And it’s an interesting combo.  The first thing that hit me, almost on the pour, was the smoky/wood.  There’s a big cigar cedar element to this wine, which is ok with me if the flavor can pull through, which it did.  Being an ’08 it’s had a little time to chill out.  There’s a nice blue berry component, a little tobacco; some pepper on the finish, a bit chewy.

Overall, I’m going to say it’s a nice wine for the money.  Certainly a little different package from Mendoza with the blended varietals, but I would recommend it, especially at this price.  You could enjoy this wine with a lot of different cuisine. Rating: 88 Points
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Costco item number: 774420

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2008 Orestiadi Ludovico Rosso Sicilia

   I was really excited to find this bottle at Costco.  What an interesting wine and perfect for me as I continue to work on my book about Italian wine.  Price at Costco was $19.99.

This is a Sicilian wine with the IGT designation.  The wine is comprised of 90% Nero d’Avola (the red grape of Sicily) and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  I have enjoyed many bottles of Nero d’Avola and I think they are one of the best buys for Italian wines around $15-$20 but I had never had a blend like this. 

Nero d’Avola typically exudes a nice herbal aroma and this wine showed much of that.  Lots of berry fruit on the nose, white pepper, spice and a little floral.  On the palate this wine is full bodied with a soft tannic structure and a good bit of acidity.  More ripe berry flavors, a lot going on, definitely tobacco and some black licorice; finish is a spicy, dry and sticky.

This is an excellent wine, and a good buy at Costco.  Pair this with a nice Italian dish with spice, red sauce and/or red meat.  I enjoyed it with basic spaghetti (cooking for the kids) and it was superb. Rating: 89 Points
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Costco item number: 825665

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Beer Review: Chimay Ale Grande Reserve Blue

  So I know this one is a little different than what we usually cover, but when I was visiting my Costco to pick out the wine I wanted to review for the site, I overheard a couple people balking at the $9.99 price tag for this one pint, nine ounce bottle of Chimay.  They clearly had never tasted Chimay.

Since Chimay Blue is one of my favorite beers of all time, and feeling the desire to spread its joyfulness to more people, I bought one at the great price of $9.99 and actually say down with the Redneck Wine Guy to enjoy and review for the site.  It started out a great night of beer drinking.  Here are our notes.

We picked up a lot of scents on the nose including caramel, honey, amaretto, clove and orange peel.  It’s amazing how much is on this beer.

The color was a light amber, honey color that was thick enough that you can’t see through. On the palate, we picked up noted butterscotch, caramel square, vanilla, molasses and white pepper aromas with a hint of All Spice.

Finishes full with the 9% alcohol kicking in on the back palate.  The beer really comes together at the end, rounding out what is clearly one of the best beer drinking experiences I think you can get. Highly recommended, and this price at Costco is very good.
– Andrew and Redneck Wine Guy

Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Costco item number: 737727

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2010 Chateau Chantemerle Bordeaux

How many times do you come across a decent Bordeaux for $7?   My answer is: “rarely, if not almost never”.   I had to use “almost” because of this 2010 Chateau Chantemerle. Costco’s buyers found a very decent merlot-based wine that quite nicely pairs with most foods.  You don’t want to drink this alone — it is an accompaniment wine.  

A combination of 65% merlot, 25% cab and 10% cab franc, this is a wine that you’d expect to drink in a French bistro with your meal.   It is both tannic and fruity with a dominant flavor of black currant.    There’s enough acidity to complement the food but with a smooth aftertaste.   I drank this wine over three days and found the second and third days superior to the first, so feel free to decant this wine or nurse it slowly over a few days.  Bon Appetit.
– Michael S

Costco item #:774452
Price:  $6.99
Rating: 88  (largely due to value)
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2011 Kirkland Signature Medoc Bordeaux

  This wine really changed a lot with air.  I was getting ready to write it up as one of my least favorite Kirkland offerings.  But after an hour or so in the glass it’s come around, albeit only a bit.  I’m a big Bordeaux fan, and frequently enjoy wines from the Medoc region, but most cost more than the $8.99 I paid for this bottle at Costco.  At that price, it’s hard to be too critical, but I wouldn’t rush to the store to stock up on this one.

I reread my comments on the 2009 vintage of this wine, and feel very much the same for this year’s wine.  Overall, the wine is just not that interesting and rather one dimensional. Nose is almost non-existent; in the mouth the wine opens up with a bit of dark fruit, blackberry, and black licorice flavors, leading to a dry and slightly spicy finish that wraps up quickly.

If you’re a Bordeaux fan like me and are looking to try an inexpensive bottle for fun, go for it.  Otherwise, I’d take my money and look for anything from Spain for $9. Rating: 85 Points
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Costco item number: 666695

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2008 Vecchia Cantinia Leone D’Oro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano


(This review is a guest post from Ryan at


I decided to go old school and sample a glass of this wine while viewing Roberto Rosselini’s 1959 drama Il Generale della Rovere, given the fact that both wine and film have regal-sounding names. But while the film lived up to the hype, the wine fell disappointingly short.

The nose was inviting, with hints of cherry. But the first mouthful was kind of blah, not fruity, slightly meaty but rather nondescript for a sangiovese. The aftertaste was suitably dry and chewy but didn’t reveal any interesting flavors.

I decided to try pairing the wine, priced at $17.49 at Costco, with some fusili with sausage to see if it fared any better. It held up nicely against the tomato sauce and hearty meat, but still failed to reveal any legs.


I really wanted to love this one. But while it’s a perfectly decent red wine, you can do better for the money.


Grade: 87


— Ryan, Viva Italian Movies

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2009 Bodega El Angosto Tinto

  This wine is an absolutely steal for only $11.99 at Costco.  I’m going back today to try to buy more.  I enjoyed this bottle with two other people who also agreed that it drank like it cost $30-$40.  If you are a regular reader of this site, this is why you buy wine at Costco, right here.  Go get it.

Smells expensive on the nose, a little cinnamon and some spices.  I thought the wine appeared a bit younger than 2009 when I poured it, and when you get into it more you realize we are drinking it at a perfect time. 

The wine is medium in body with ripe fruit, mostly red fruit with a hint of plum; strawberry licorice, some leather aromas toward the end.  Tannins are juicy; a long multi-layered finish.  A superb wine that I still can’t believe was only $12.

This wine will go on our Silver Rated wine list as well as our Value Picks.  This is an incredible buy right now at Costco. Rating: 92 Points
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Costco item number: 755334
*Silver Rated*
*Value Pick*

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2008 Piccini Chianti Classico

  This bottle isn’t a bad buy since it’s only $10.99 at Costco but I was hoping for a bit more from the wine.  It has all the right markings for a great wine – Chianti Classico, DOCG, good vintage.  And maybe I bought this one at a bad time since I’m writing a book on Italian wine and have been enjoying some of the best the country has to offer.  But in my research I’ve had many Chianti Classicos under $15 with more depth and character than this one.

The wine is light in the mouth and it’s easy drinking, very simple and subtle; dry finish.  Flavor pops quick, a bit of red fruit, cherry and plum.  Finishes up quickly with a little pepper.

Again, the price is fine for this bottle.  Drink it with your anytime spaghetti dinner. Rating: 86 Points
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Costco item number: 604618

(And a quick pointer from my forthcoming book on Italian wine…if you aren’t looking at these wines already, be sure to explore wines from Veneto, specifically Valpolicella, and if you want to be super specific Ripasso, which is essentially Amarone at a bargain price.  I don’t think you can beat wines with any of these markings on them for the money.  Write down the bolded words and take them to your wine shop – or Costco if you get lucky)

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2012 Simi Sonoma Chardonnay

  I think Simi did a pretty good job with this Chardonnay, especially for only $8.99 at Costco.  Inexpensive Chardonnays like this can really go sideways pretty quickly, but this one hangs in just fine.  It met my expectations for a good value, but didn’t offer much more than that.

This is a good Chardonnay for people (like me) who don’t prefer the huge oak and butter.  This wine is more fruit forward, nice and citrusy on the nose and you can really taste the apple, pear and mango flavor before the subtle oak slides in at the finish. 

All around a very “safe” Chardonnay and a good buy at this price point.  This bottle won’t drive you to buy it by the case, but it will satisfy your palate for a good mid-week dinner of chicken and vegetables, which is how I did it. Rating: 86 Points
Costco item number: 91443
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA

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2011 Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot

  It’s been a while since I reviewed one of the Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlots, and I’m happy to report that the current vintage is quite nice for the Costco price of $13.99 (it’s been slowly creeping up).

You’ll want to give this wine a little air.  It opens up a little closed but after some time in the glass, its true character began to emerge.  The nose is subtle and floral; in the mouth the wine feels medium in body, tannins are gentle and the flavor is spot on to what I remember from this wine; jammy dark fruit, a hint of vanilla and chocolate, ripe fruit, a little vegetal.  This wine is ready to drink now.  Finish is very pleasant, longer than expected with a touch of spice.  

This bottle is a good buy at Costco.  Also keep an eye out for the Columbia Crest H3 Merlot if you like your Columbia Valley Merlots.  It is similar in price and value, and seems to widely distributed around the country. Rating: 88 Points
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Costco item number: 160933

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2009 Abelis Carthago Luis Selection Toro Crianza

  Costco always turns up the heat with their wine selection during the holidays.  I can’t remember the last time I saw such a big selection of different varietals of wine there in a long time.

Maybe it was due to the 90 point IWC review (note the sticker on the bottle), but this Spanish Crianza did not meet my expectations.  The color is a dark purple and nose almost tangy, acidic and powerful in itself.  That theme continued as this is a bold wine with almost grippy tannins and medium plus acidity that overpowers the small amount of dark fruit I tasted.  It left me looking for more after a short tangy finish.  I came back the next day and paired it with some Manchego cheese which helped the fruit come through more and it improved considerably.  Goes to show you how a wine can improve with food, especially when they’re from the same region.

There are better Spanish wines you can find for $14.99 (or less) at Costco, and if you hunt around you can find this for less elsewhere.
— Adam L

Rating: 87
Purchased at Costco in: Van Nuys, CA
Costco item number: 293705

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2010 Castillo de Maluenda Calatayud Altos de Sueno


Wine: Altos de Sueno

Winery:  Castillo de Maluenda

Varietal(s): 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah

Vintage: 2010

Region:  Calatayud Appelation, Aragon Region, Spain

Costco price: $9.89
Reviewed by: Redneck Wine Guy


As I write this, the South has settled into a cold, rainy streak.  The rain seems to never stop, flooding trout streams and keeping wildlife bedded down.  The waders and camouflage stay put up and the pajamas stay on….sometimes all day long.  What I do love about this time of year is the comforts of soul food and red wine.  From stews to roasts, Tempranillo to Bordeaux, the season offers a plethora of opportunity to tour the world in the comforts of home by pairing foods from one country with wines of another.  Today – Spain.


It is safe to say that Spain has caught the eye of the wine world, and in recent years has taken the US market by storm.  Some are coining it the “Spanish Wine Renaissance”, bringing a country rich in wine history back into the conversation after disappearing from world view for many years.  The options are seemingly endless, with many years’ worth of wine exploration that await.


I paired this Altos de Sueno from the Aragon region of Spain with a venison stew made from a hunt from last year.  The grapes in this blend (Grenache/Syrah) compliment and pair well with game meats and each bring out the nuances in the other.  The wine comes off very young, moderately jammy, and probably in need of a little more time in the bottle.  The nose and palate are vibrant with cherry, blackberry, licorice, and is super fruit forward.  Mildly to moderately acidic.  Candidly, I was not all too impressed on Day #1.  What I did find most interesting is Day #2 – both the wine, and the stew, were phenomenally better!  I expected that with the stew, but not with the wine. The “fruitiness” was still there, but was tamed and the palate much more well-rounded.  Good everyday, non-pretentious wine.  Going against the grain, I give it two ratings: Day #1 and Day #2.


Redneck Wine Guy Rating: 85/89

Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA

Costco item number: 803597 

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2011 Casarena Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon


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

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2009 Vina Real Crianza

  This is a great deal for $10.99 at Costco and really over delivers. The first thing I picked up was the bright cherry aroma on the nose along with the deep red color of the wine.  The fruit comes through immediately and continues mid palate with medium tannins and just enough acidity to balance it out.  It’s medium body allows the flavors to stand out without being overpowered.  My favorite was the red fruit spice that took the wine home through the finish.  Tasting it blind, it might fool you into thinking it could be a Bordeaux.  I enjoy how these Spanish wines from the same region can be so different.  
— Adam L

Rating: 90 Points
Purchased at Costco in: Van Nuys, CA
Costco item number: 782532

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2011 Bogle Essential Red

  For $8.89 at Costco, this is a solid California red blend, and a slight step above my expectations.  At this price it really is a bargain, especially if you compare to a wine like the super popular Apothic Red, which again is a fantastic bargain for $8 at Costco, but I might like this Bogle blend a tad better.

A spicy floral nose leads into a soft, rich flavor packed wine.  The varietals are Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah, and they’ve assembled the blend perfectly. Good ripe fruit, lots of red fruit flavor with a semi-dry finish that brings a little spice.  Feels wonderful in the mouth.

This is a fun little wine the more you jump into it.  I had Bogle’s Phantom blend at a dinner party a few months back and remember liking it.  This one is right there, and I’m sure a lot less expensive.  This is a very good buy. Rating: 88 Points
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Costco item number: 814632

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