Our VinoVistas site is about 8 months old now, but we've already made it to the second vintage of a Kirkland Signature wine! Our very first side-by-side blind tasting with the 2018 Kirkland Malbec and Tapiz Malbec happened all the way back in April, with the Kirkland bottle handily toppling it's more expensive counterpart. This 2019 vintage of the Malbec has been on the shelves for a number of weeks now, so we needed to put this wine back into the ring to see how it would fare against some fresh competition! This tasting's challenger is one we don't think we have seen at Costco in the past (not that we see ALL the wines, but we do see a fair number of them!). At $7.89, it comes in at a very similar price point to the Kirkland ($6.99) and provides a slightly different take on our usual tastings. Generally, we put the Kirkland wines up against a more mainstream wine that is a quite a bit more expensive (often 50%-100%), but this time the markup is a measly $.90 (about 13%).
2019 Kirkland Signature Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($6.99)
2019 Finca Sophia "Altosur" Malbec, Uco Valley (Mendoza), Argentina ($7.89)
Let's get into the tasting and see how these two bantamweights fared against one another!
Wine 1: Wafting up from this glass is an abundance of fruitiness. The first taste is a bit tightly wound, but does come through with some ripe blueberry. The mid-palate is somewhat tart but leads to a chalky (if not slgihtly bitter) finish. As this wine developed over the tasting these elements came into better balance and the fruit really became the star.
Wine 2: There is more complex and earthy nose coming from this wine. On the palate it is dry, dusty, and tannic, showing less fruit than the competition. This wine is more about spice, leather and hints of dried fruit. Very nice wine that is perhaps more terroir driven than wine 1.
This group of tasters was a bit confounded by these two wines. Three out of the four tasters at this afternoon's session flip-flopped continuously on which wine they preferred. It just goes to show that every wine (even budget ones) continuously evolves once it is opened and can change quite a bit as it breathes. In the end, we had to call this one a draw, as it was an even split across the group.
The first wine was the Kirkland Signature and the second was Finca Sophia.
Both of these wines are great values, and you really can't go wrong with either one! If you prefer more fresh fruit, go with the Kirkland. If you prefer a more earthy style, go with the "Altosur". They are pleasing on the palate and pleasing on the pocketbook! Cheers!