We have been looking forward to this side-by-side tasting for quite some time and this week was the perfect opportunity to see how the 2016 Kirkland Signature Chianti Classico Riserva would stack up in a one-on-one competition. The challenger is a 2016 Castello di Bibbione Chianti Classico Riserva, which we found just down the aisle at Costco. Ding, ding, ding!
2016 Castello di Bibbione Chianti Classico Riserva - $14.49
2016 Kirkland Signature Chianti Classico Riserva - $8.49
Wine #1: Deep red in the glass, slightly cloudy. Nose is fragrant, with notes of cherry, slight dustiness/earthiness, "smells like Tuscany!" The palate continued with the same cherry flavor, bright acidity, and smooth tannins - a well-balanced wine with good structure. Alcohol seemed a touch higher in comparison to wine #2.
Wine #2: Pours a lighter and more transparent red in the glass. Nose is simpler and less expressive, almost muted. The taste is nice - simple, fruity, but subtle - nothing over the top here. It is light and fun, but also tasted a little on the cheap side. "I could drink this any day of the week!".
For the first time in our series of tastings, there wasn't a unanimous victor. While everyone enjoyed both of these wines, three out of the four in the group preferred wine #1, while one person preferred wine #2. We did have a great discussion (over more Ooni Pizza, handcrafted by Chef Dad) about the perfect scenario for each of these wines to be enjoyed. The conclusion we all came to is that wine #1 is a great food wine that wants to be be paired with some kind of fatty food to balance out the structure - think of a hearty pasta fagioli, or cured meats. The simple and easy drinking quality of wine #2 wants to be enjoyed, well...any day of the week - with or without food!
So which wine was which? Wine #1 was the Bibbione. Another "loss" in the recent string of tastings for the Kirkland Signature Wines.
Is it worth the extra $?
This gets to the heart of the discussion and why we labeled this a "loss" for the KS Chianti. These are both good wines that deserve to have a place in everyone's cellar, on their counter, or wherever you store your wine. If we are kicking back after a concert (sadly we hardly know what live music is anymore) with a bowl of popcorn in front of the TV, we will grab the Kirkland just about every time. Put a bowl of pasta in front of us at the dinner table, and 9 times out of 10 we will grab the Bibbione. Neither is worlds above or below one another, and we believe each wine represents a great value.
But we didn't answer the question!!!
We know. We would suggest you go out and buy them both to see for yourself and let us know what you think. Salute!