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Blind Tasting: Kirkland Napa County Cabernet vs. Oberon Napa County Cabernet

2017 Kirkland Signature Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99)


2018 Oberon Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.69)

We found these two wines a few months ago at our local Costco but hadn't opened them yet because of the disappointment with our last California Cabernet tasting. We decided to give it a go over some good pasta and company, and were pleasantly surprised this time around.

The Tasting:

Wine #1: Poured a deep purple in the glass with nice bit of clarity towards the edges. The nose presented some nice dark fruits with a hint of smoke. On the palate, this wine presented a well-balanced mix of dark chocolate, more black fruit, a hint of jam, and solid tannic structure. It seemed to have a nice maturity and complexity to it that pleased our group of tasters. This wine tasted high quality and not overly manipulated.

Wine #2: This wine poured a slightly lighter overall color in the glass while still possessing a nice depth. The aroma was a touch brighter in character, more earthy quality, and showing some oaky notes. These same qualities on the nose followed through on the palate - bright fruit, earth, and some oakiness (although not overdone), with a very slight sweetness. One taster remarked that this wine was a little nondescript and perhaps a bit manipulated, but another commented that this wine was more similar to an old world style Cabernet. It had a slightly lighter mouthfeel, and more acidity that went well with food. It's funny how the same wine with the same food can have such different responses!

The Verdict?

It's a draw! This is a good thing and we are happy to see it. Both of these wines are of good quality and exhibit solid Cabernet Sauvignon characteristics both in aroma and flavor. Over recent years, we have shied away from heavy-handed Napa Valley wines, but these two from the greater Napa County area bucked that trend a bit. The Oberon (wine #1) came in at just 13.7% ABV (very atypical), while the Kirkland (wine #2) clocks a 14% ABV (which is also low by many Napa standards).

Is it worth it?

Both of these wines are worth the money to us, especially considering that we've had many Napa Cabs that cost upwards of $30 that do not really give us much pleasure. Kudos to both Oberon and to winemaker Alison Crowe of the Kirkland wines for making a couple of solid Cabernet choices at a reasonable cost. Cheers!

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