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2010 Luca Syrah Laborde Double Select

  (This is a guest post from Adam L from Southern CA.  He sent me a note about this wine and I thought everyone would benefit from reading his notes.  I have yet to see this bottle at my Costcos but I am keeping an eye out)

The wine was impressive from opening.  Dark fruit aromas immediately greet you almost daring you to let it breathe more.  I tasted flavored of dark berries and spicy cherries.  The finish was smooth, supple and spicy finish.  Tannins were minimal as was the acidity (which were coincidentally the drawbacks in my opinion).  

I wondered why the wine was priced the way it was ($18.99) considering the varietal, winery and country of origin, but after tasting, it was well worth what I paid for it.  

Normally I’m a fan of big California cabs and spicy Spanish Tempranillo’s.  For those who want a dark fruit and full bodied wine, without firm tannins and acidity, (along with a good amount of fruity and peppery spicy, this one should be considered.

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2012 Mirassou 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

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2012 Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc

I wasn’t expecting much from a California Sauvignon Blanc priced under $8 but this bottle was a pleasant surprise.  It’s a good wine for the money, and a nice summer one to have on hand.

Not a lot going on with the nose, a little floral, citrus perhaps.  But once the wine gets in your mouth you immediately sense its combination of both freshness and dryness, with a good dose of lemon and lime, with some grapefruit flavors. 

It’s clean and rather simple, which might be its saving grace at this price point.  It’s not trying too hard; just enough to be above expectations at this low price point. And that’s not a bad thing. Rating: 87 Points

Costco item number: 162023

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2011 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel

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

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2011 Riondo Monte Forte Lot 6 Pinot Grigio

I’m drinking this one on a really hot day in Atlanta, and it’s probably the best setting for Pinot Grigio, which are typically not on my shopping list.   But in the interest of catering to readers who might enjoy Pinot Grigio, I wanted to give it a shot.  At $7.99, I can say it’s enjoyable on a hot summer day and this bottle offers just what it promises to be. 

I just don’t typically pick up much flavor in Pinot Grigio, and this one isn’t much different.  This wine might be a bit more on the creamy and vanilla side of things, which to me tastes a bit odd with the citrus fruit flavor that’s peaking through.   But it’s drinkable, especially cold out of the fridge. Rating: 84 Points

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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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2009 Baileyana Firepeak Chardonnay Edna Valley

A delicious Chardonnay at a great price at Costco ($17.99) for a bottle of this caliber, especially considering it’s all over the Internet for $25+.  Citrus fruit hits vanilla and a touch of oak and stone on the finish to deliver a great summer white.

Nose was a little closed but opened up with some good swirling.  Tropical fruit, pineapple, apricot and grapefruit flavors with fresh acidity, bright and thirst quenching (I drank it in 89 degree heat while grilling).  Finish brings a little earthy stone element rounded by a hint of oak, nothing overbearing.

All around a solid buy at this price.  I’m surprised to see ’09s floating around of a wine like this.  See if your Costco carries it and scoop up at least one. Rating: 90 Points

Costco item number: 333780

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2011 Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf-du-pape

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

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2012 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc

This is a decent value Sauvignon Blanc for only $7.99.  It’s a little bland on the finish, but the bright fruit and citrus flavor packs a pretty good punch early on for a super inexpensive summer white like this.

Floral nose, citrusy too; the flavor is fresh and vibrant with apricot, peach, lime and grapefruit flavors.  It’s a wine that starts better than it finishes (drops off quick), but for something in this price range, it can easily be looked past. 

As is usually the case with Chilean wines, this one offers a good bang for the buck.  A fun summer wine at a great Costco price. Rating: 86 Points

Costco item number: 753880

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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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2010 Concha Y Toro Gran Reserva Carmenere Serie Riberas

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

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2010 Terra Valentine Spring Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

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

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2011 Joseph Carr Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

This is really a lovely expression of Chardonnay especially for only $15.59 at my Costco.  The winemakers did an excellent job of managing the oak to let the vibrant fruit flavors come through.  It’s a perfect summer food wine; definitely my style of Chardonnay.

Tropical and floral on the nose, matches its lighter color, and then on the palate you get nice young fruit with flavors of apple, pear, lemon, maybe even a little watermelon as the acidity takes hold.  The finish brings in a touch of the oakiness and rounds out a very enjoyable summer wine.

At this price I’ll scoop a couple up for drinking later in the summer.  A good wine to enjoy with friends, as indicated on the back of the label which simply says “Share.”  I’m a fan, and will put this one on our Bronze Rated wine list. Rating: 90 Points
*Bronze Rated*

Costco item number: 690875

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2010 Kirkland Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville

“Had to try this one to see what they can do with Oakville cab at this price…and the result is pretty good. One of the better Kirkland wines I have tasted (Their Chtf. Du pape is good as well).

Nose hits you right away with dark cabernet fruit, what I expect from Oakville. Surprisingly maintains some distinct characteristics of leather, black currant, raisin, blackberry, and vanilla oaky finish – much of what you can find in more expense big name wines from Oakville…Some dusty mild tannins suggest this has some potential for smoothing out a little bit with time. Relatively thick coat finish feels good, but a little bitterness and heat. Falls a tad short overall in terms of complexity (somewhat one-dimensional), but it is a big dark fruit driven wine that could fool many in a blind tasting. Better than expected, and overall I would recommend this one – especially for under $20.

*Give it some time to breath….big improvements”
— Rating: 90 Points

— TJ Cohen



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