We here at VinoVistas are catching up on writing about some side-by-side blind tastings that we held recently. Being with family for a week calls for drinks (for many reasons) and also creates the opportunity to have more opinions for our side by side reviews. Pictured below are the contenders for this review...
2018 Kirkland Signature Sonoma County Chardonnay ($6.99)
2018 Simi Sonoma County Chardonnay ($11.89)
Wine #1: Had a somewhat clean nose that ended up giving way to a palate that tasted quite different than expected - unfortunately, we were struck with the taste of rotten fruit. For 3 of our tasters, it was basically a non-starter, as they could not get past this taste. The black sheep of the bunch decided not to be turned off so quickly and appreciated the acidity presented in this wine and did note that it seemed like it was perhaps a "better made" wine than wine #2. Wine #1 did evolve over time and it did shed some of the more unpleasant flavors, and became more drinkable.
Wine #2: Led with healthy amounts of oak and butterscotch on the nose. On the palate, this wine tasted buttery and creamy, with fruit flavors of peach and apple. It seemed a little high on the alcohol for a chardonnay and perhaps a bit on the sweet side. One taster thought this was way over-oaked and tasted like something you might get on an airplane.
Based on the brief reviews above, you can easily guess that wine #2 did come out ahead here in a 3-1 victory. Simi walked away with the honors of this tasting.
Is it worth it?
Well, for this group, we didn't enjoy either of these wines a whole lot, so the answer is an easy no. In fact, after a few sips of each of these wines, we went to the wine rack to pick out something else to drink with our dinner! Neither of these wines presented a sense of quality or flavors that were really appealing. For a $6.99 wine, you could almost give it a pass, but paying close to $12 for a bottle should net you something that you can at least enjoy.
We've had a number other white wines from Costco in this price range that are full of character and give a sense of satisfaction that our money was well spent. If you're looking for a Chardonnay, the Kirkland Russian River Valley Chardonnay is just a touch more at $12.99, but a much higher quality wine than the Simi. If you're open to exploring other varietals we might suggest going to some of the "Old World" wines - there is often a very nice Spanish Albarino and a nice Italian Gavi about the same price of $12. Or get the Portuguese Vinho Verde for the massive sum of $6.50 (please bring this back soon, Costco!) There are others to be sure, especially if you look beyond Chardonnay from California.