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Blind Tasting: Kirkland Alexander Valley Cabernet vs. Alexander Valley Vineyards

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Homemade pizza in our Ooni Pizza Oven.

Pizza night was here (yay!) and we thought it was time to have another side-by-side blind tasting - this time we opted for a pair of Cabernet Sauvignons from Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. 2017 Kirkland Signature Alexander Valley ($9.99) versus 2017 Alexander Valley Vineyards ($16.89). Let's get into it!

Wine #1 - Deep ruby red in the glass with notes of oak, smoke, and deep red fruits on the nose. The palate has leather, structure, slight acidity, staying power, complexity, slight "barnyard-y" quality, like Bordeaux. Persistent and intense finish.

Wine #2 - Darker and more opaque in the glass with a nose that has strong vanilla presence. The palate has plenty of toasted oak, simple, lighter red fruits, over-manipulated, unnatural sweet flavor, lacking varietal character.

For this group of three tasters, the preferred wine was easily discernible - Wine #1. In fact, all three of us made our preference known pretty quickly after a few sniffs of each of the wines in our glasses. Wine #1 was Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet and it was significantly better than the Kirkland.

Is it worth the extra $?

Last week we posed this question when the Kirkland Sauvignon Blanc didn't quite measure up to the Whitehaven. We suggested that the difference in price ($7) wasn't worth it for the slightly better wine. This week, however, we all agreed that the extra expense for the AVV was easily worth it. We hate to rag on any particular wine, but this Kirkland Signature wine just doesn't bring much to the table for us. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this wine is that it lacks any kind of characteristic varietal traits. Well, aside from color - it does pour red in the glass so that is a step in the right direction.

After a hot start, the Kirkland wines are faltering a bit in the last few tastings! We have at least one tasting coming up this week, so look forward to a post about a Chianti Classico face-off.

KS Alexander Valley Cab < Alexander Valley Vineyards

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