[originally published 5/2020; last update 6/2023]
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 what’s not, rejoicing in controlling our obsession 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.
We’re going to look at all of our past reviews and ratings over more than 10+ 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.
Note: We are not including the Kirkland Prosecco or Champagne, as those are non vintage, widely available, and pretty consistent in taste and price year to year.
There’s a PDF download of the full chart at the end of this post. Ready to get into it? Here is a brief look at the highest rated Kirkland bottles from the list.
Kirkland Signature Pauillac Bordeaux
It’s a bummer that we haven’t seen a new vintage of this amazing wine appear in stores for more than five years. We 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]
Kirkland Signature Saint-Julien Bordeaux
Thankfully, while we don’t the Pauillac Bordeaux anymore. Costco gave us a similar gift with the introduction of the Kirkland Signature Saint-Julien Bordeaux, that we scored 91 points. We hope to see more vintages of this one hit stores, and have high hopes for it. The price is right too at $19. [our review]
Kirkland Signature Oakville Cabernet
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 91 points and you can expect this wine to hit in the March time frame. [2020 Oakville review]
Kirkland Signature Suscol Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
We only have three vintages of this reletively new Kirkland offering, but it’s one of the best in the portfolio. Average score of 91 points from us. $16.99 price tag is amazing for a wine like this. [2020 vintage review]
Kirkland Signature Brunello
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. [2017 Kirkland Brunello]
2019 Kirkland Signature Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Another winner from Napa, this wine just keeps getting better. $19 and 92 points on the past two vintages from us. Can’t beat it. Look for it in the December timeframe. [2019 vintage review]
And finally on the list of top wines, another relative newcomer to the Kirkland portfolio, the Kirkland Barolo. A favorite of ours, and one of our reader favorites as well. 92-93 points from us, and a $20 price tag. Great juice here. [2017 vintage review]
Now…The Definitive Guide to Costco’s Kirkland Wines
Here is the full historical data we pulled to base these calculations on. This will also show the price increase/decrease year to year. We did our 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|
|Chianti Classico||2020||85||8.99||Feb||87||Mar / Apr?|
|Ti Point Sauv Blanc||2019||87||6.99||Apr||88||April|
|Sonoma Old Vine Zin||2019||88||9.99||July||?|
|Suscol Napa Cabernet||2020||91||16.99||Apr||91||April|
|Oakville Cabernet||2020||90||19.99||Feb||91||Feb / Mar|
|Barolo||2017||93||19.99||Feb||92||Feb / Mar|
|Russian River Pinot Noir||2021||89||11.99||Dec||87||Jan?|
|Willamette Pinot Noir||2020||89||12.99||Apr||89||April / May|
|Brunello||2017||90||19.99||Nov||90||Oct / Nov|
|Stags Leap Cabernet||2019||91||23.99||Aug||90||Sept|
|Cotes du Rhone Villages||2021||88||6.99||Oct||88||Oct|
|Napa Red Blend||2020||90||10.99||Sept||88||Sept / Oct|
|Pinot Grigio Friuli||2020||87||4.99||Jan||87||?|
|K Vine Cabernet||2020||89||13.99||May||89||May|
|Columbia Valley Red Blend||2020||88||16.99||Dec||88||Dec|
|Columbia Valley Cabernet||2020||88||8.99||June||88||July?|
|Russian River Chardonnay||2021||86||12.99||June||87||June|
|Kirkland Boxed Cabernet||2017||84||12.99||June|
|Carneros Pinot Noir||2020||85||9.99||Aug||88||July?|
|Cotes de Provence Rose||2022||89||7.99||May||90||May / June|
|Rioja Reserva||2018||89||7.89||May||88||April / May|
|Premier Cru Chablis||2020||90||17.49||Jan||89||Feb|
|Rutherford Cabernet||2019||92||18.99||Jan||91||Jan / Dec|
|Ribera del Duero||2014||90||13.99||Dec||90||Dec|
|Chateauneuf-Du-Pape||2021||90||19.69||May||90||May / June|
|Alexander Valley Cabernet||2018||88||9.99||Aug||87||Aug|
If you’re interested in even more Kirkland wine reviews, view our full archive.
And don’t forget to sign up for our emails (2X/week) so you can be the first in the know on new Costco wine reviews. We value you as a subscriber and won’t share or spam ever.
Tuesday 25th of May 2021
I’m new to Costcowines. Whose wine rating do they use for their wine ratings? I couldn’t find a citation. Thanks for your help!
Tuesday 25th of May 2021
Hi, Costco uses quite a few different critics on their placard signs that accompany the wines in store. That includes James Suckling, Decanter, wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast
Monday 19th of April 2021
Your Kirkland wines historic roundup is very useful and appreciated. However, it reflects a Costco wines imbalance (IMO), a much lesser emphasis on white wines. Here in SC the imbalance is not only in terms of whites vs. reds but that about three quarters of their white wine stock is west coast chardonnay, not a favorite in our house. This is a pretty extreme tilt and not one that I would have thought was conducive to max overall sales. Anyway, we are strong fans of their red wine selections and also the French chardonnays. I guess we will have to buy most of our whites elsewhere. Would like to have your thoughts on this.
Monday 19th of April 2021
Hi John, totally agree. The intro of the Kirkland Sancerre was a step in the right direction. I'd love to see some more Kirkland whites appear from Spain and Italy. Also a Kirkland Gruner Veltliner and Riesling would make really nice additions.
Monday 19th of April 2021
What about Costco’s 10 year old Tawny Port??
Saturday 20th of March 2021
Hi Folks. I frequently look at the ratings of the wines and believe the gold standard is Wine Spectator. The others, i.e.. Wine Enthusiast, and others just don't seem credible/accurate to me. I'd love to hear my fellow wine drinkers opinions. Thank you David
Saturday 6th of June 2020
I have been looking how to chart these without creating my own spreadsheet to have available on my phone, and now have copied and paste into the spreadsheet, saved a tremendous amount of time and effort. Can you do this for your other reviews??