[originally published 5/9/20; updated 10/27/21]
One thing about shopping at Costco, which is on one hand the greatest thing ever, but simultaneously one of the most frustrating, is the idea of the “Costco find.”
The term can apply to a couple different types of “finds” too. First, you have the item you’ve never seen before but it’s priced low and it’s something you instantly must have. How did you live so long without it? Love those.
Next is the surprise item; that one thing you found a year or so ago but it disappeared after a week so you only had one chance to buy it. But wait, now it’s back, it includes 20% more than last time and you’re pumped.
I always picture someone inside corporate Costco with Mr. Burns’ fingers (not sure why) sitting around pushing buttons on what’s available and whats not, rejoicing in controlling our obessions with the “Costco find.” And Costco wine falls right into this same game, especially Costco’s Kirkland wines.
Here’s how we’re going to do this. I’m going to look at all of our past reviews and ratings over more than ten years to determine the average score across all vintages we have tasted, calculate the average price and try to ballpark a target month when the wines seem to have appeared based on my historical data. And then we’ll put them in order, based on highest rating.
Note: I am only including wines where we have reviewed multiple vintages. My chart at the end of this post contains notes on wines that were single vintages. I am also not including the Kirkland Prosecco or Champagne, as those are non vintage, widely available, and pretty consistent in taste and price year to year. Also note, many of the wines scored similar average ratings, so there is no particular order to the ones with the same rating. I’m only listing wines that average 88 points and above. Again, full chart below for all of you who want to do a deep dive. Ready?
It’s a bummer that we haven’t seen a new vintage of this amazing wine appear in stores for more than two years. I hope it’s not gone for good. Please Costco, give us a surprise here. The Kirkland Pauillac Bordeaux is top notch for only $23 and it takes the cake at the top of our ratings with scores of 91 and 92. In the past it has appeared in stores in December-January. [our review]
We love this wine and its $20 price tag is hard to beat compared to other wines from this premier region of Napa Valley. Average score over the years is 90 points and you can expect this wine to hit in the March time frame. [2018 Oakville review]
We’ve reviewed three vintages so far of the Carneros Pinot and it is always impressive, resulting in 89, 90 and 89 point ratings. The price is just too good at $9.99 which is relatively unheard of for Carneros juice. Look for this one in May. [2019 Carneros]
This is one of the fastest selling Kirkland wines year in and year out. If you see it, stock up right away. This is not one of those “Costco surprises” that makes a reappearance later. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for the year. And it is an amazing rose for the price ($8.69); our average score is 90 points and look for this one in April. [2020 Kirkland Rose]
There have been three vintages of this Kirkland wine and it’s a delicious one at a great price, currently $14. We’ve rated it 90 points each time, and timing is tough as it’s been released as early as September and as late as December. So keep an eye out in the fall/winter for it. [2014 Ribera Del Duero]
This is another Kirkland favorite that we’ve been tasting and tracking back to the 2011 vintage. For those interested in this wine, check out the chart below for our full breakdown of each vintage. We’ve rated it as high as 93 points with the 2013 vintage and as low as 88 points with the 2014 vintage. Once you average them out, this one comes in at a respectable 90 points. Look for it in July. [2019 Kirkland Chateauneuf]
This one is always a gem, from another prominent area of Napa that produces wines I really gravitate to. The price over the years has crept up from $20 to $24, average rating from us is 89 points and we expect this wine to reach stores in September. [2019 Kirkland Stags Leap]
This wine is always a classic at a very good price that stays consistent every year at $8.49. Average rating of 88 points and target release month is April. [2018 Kirkland Chianti]
Price dropped this year to only $6.99 (from $7.99); this remains a nice, fun summer pick, perfect for pools, beaches and hot days. Average score 88 points, target release month: April. [our review] UPDATE: we’re hearing this one might be discontinued which is a real bummer. Let’s hope that’s not the case.
A solid pick every year with a consistent $9.99 price tag, this is a fun versatile Zin we’ve always enjoyed. Average rating is 88 points and target release month is March. [our review]
Wide range of scores for the Kirkland Brunello over the years, ranging from 92 points for the amazing 2010 vintage to a low of 86 the following vintage (2011). The price has been creeping up too reaching a high of $27. But then the latest vintage came out and it was back down to $20. Expect to see it in warehouses in November. [2016 Kirkland Brunello]
We’ve tasted five vintages of this Kirkland wine and it consistently over delivers for only $6.99. Stock up when you can, likely around the October time frame. Our average rating is 88 points. [our review]
We’ve only tasted two vintages of the Kirkland Columbia Valley Cab but rated both 88 points and this remains a strong buy for only $9. Look for this one to reach stores in August. [our review]
Similar to the Kirkland Cotes du Rhone Villages, this Kirkland Rioja has remained at the ridiculously low price of $6.99 every year since we started tracking it in 2010. Average score of 88 points during that time. Look for it in April. [2016 Kirkland Rioja]
We’ve reviewed three vintages of this wine and scored them 87 (2014), 88 (2016) points and (2018) 89 points. Price jumped over the years to from $15 to $20, so this one is a little bit of a moving target and we are curious where future vintages will fall. This is still a great price for Premier Cru Chablis so fingers crossed. Look for it in February. [2018 Kirkland Chablis]
Here is the full historical data I pulled to base these calculations on. This will also show the price increase/decrease year to year as well as the Kirkland wines we rated below 88 points, many of which are still very good buys. I did my best to approximate the target month, erring on the side of early rather later when it wasn’t clear with the data.
Here’s a PDF download of the chart that some readers requested so they can save it to their phones.
|Wine||Vintage||Rating||Price||Month||Av Rating||Av Release|
|Ti Point Sauv Blanc||2019||87||6.99||April||88||April|
|Sonoma Old Vine Zin||2018||89||9.99||Oct||88||March?|
|Suscol Napa Cabernet||2018||91||16.99||April||91||April|
|Stags Leap Cabernet||2019||91||23.99||Aug||90||Sept|
|Cotes du Rhone Villages||2019||89||6.99||Nov||88||Oct|
|Napa Red Blend||2019||89||10.99||Oct||87||Oct|
|Pinot Grigio Friuli||2018||88||5.99||Sept||86||Aug|
|Columbia Valley Cabernet||2019||88||8.99||Apr||88||?|
|Russian River Chardonnay||2019||89||12.99||June||87||June|
|Kirkland Boxed Cabernet||2017||84||12.99||June|
|Carneros Pinot Noir||2019||89||9.99||May||89||June?|
|Cotes de Provence Rose||2020||90||8.69||July||90||June?|
|Premier Cru Chablis||2018||89||19.99||Jan||88||Feb|
|Ribera del Duero||2014||90||13.99||Dec||90||Dec|
|Alexander Valley Cabernet||2018||88||9.99||Aug||87||Aug|
If you’re interested in even more Kirkland wine reviews, view our full archive.
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