Updated: Jun 18, 2020
This was a fun one! If you know us, you know that we are obsessed with Costco. Liz's first stint as a blogger was a site dedicated to sharing recipes that only included ingredients found at Costco - it was awesome, but short-lived. Maybe that blog will stage a comeback sometime in the future...
We are huge fans of Kirkland products, and their wine is no exception. We drink Kirkland Signature labeled wine regularly, simply because the value is practically unbeatable. There are some KS wines that are always in stock like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay while others come and go more seasonally. These wines include the smaller production wines like Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico Riserva, Chablis, Gigondas, or Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. Because these tend to be more site-specific and limited in production, they often carry a slightly higher price tag (except the Chianti - incredible value).
But what about the juice? How does it truly compare back-to-back with other wines that are literally in the next bin at Costco? This post is going to be the first in a series of blind tastings where we pit these wines up against each other in real time. It is our very own steel cage match, but only with wine geeks in the audience. Round 1....Ding, ding, ding!
Kirkland Signature Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina 2018
Tapiz Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina 2017
Here are some of the comments that were thrown around while sipping these wines during a socially distanced tasting with two of our favorite wine-loving people.
Wine 1: "medium body, dry"...."soft and subtle, "bright cherries"...."earthy with nice acidity"...."satisfying"...."clean"...."bright"
Wine 2: "sweet and oaky"...."unremarkable finish, oaky"...."tasted like a wine that you get at Chili's with a side of cherry cough syrup"...."not compelling"...."bitter notes"...."full bodied and sweet"
All four tasters very clearly preferred wine 1. This was revealed to be the Kirkland Signature Malbec, which weighed in at the featherweight price point of $6.99! The Tapiz Malbec got knocked out and it weighed in at a heftier $13.89. I think it's safe to say that this KS wine is punching well above its weight class! Further cementing our KS Malbec victory was the fact that by the end of the night, not a drop remained of it, while the Tapiz just became Liz's cooking wine....hello boeuf bourguignon, we see you! It's important to note here that wine tasting is incredibly subjective and that everyone has their own individual preferences in what pleases them. This group of tasters just happens to all gravitate towards wines with traits more aligned with the KS Malbec - earthy, acidic, bright, medium bodied. Interestingly enough, if we did this blind test about 10 years ago, we may have in fact preferred the oakier, sweeter wine.
We will continue these tastings in the future and will try to do an apples to apples comparison as much as possible. Ideally the wines would be from the same region and the same vintage so that the playing field is as level as possible. We had so much fun with this tasting and can't wait to set up the next one. Upcoming matches include: Russian River Valley Chardonnay, Napa County Cabernet, Alexander Valley Cabernet, Côtes De Provence Rosé, Champagne, Zinfandel, Sauvingon Blanc....We had better get tasting!
For all you Costco-lovers out there, another great resource that we love is Costcowineblog.com. It's an extensive compilation of reviews of wines found at local Atlanta Costco stores, which is perfect for us, since this is our market and selections tend to vary across the country. We don't always share the same palate and preferences as the authors, but we are regular readers.
Let us know what your favorite Costco wines are in a comment below - you know we will look for 'em - Cheers!
Both of these wines were purchased at the Cumberland Costco, Atlanta, GA.