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Ribera del Duero: Side-by-Side Tasting!

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

We've been waiting for this new vintage of the Kirkland Ribera del Duero Gran Reserva to land at our Costco for about 11 months now and it has finally appeared. Out of all of the Kirkland wines that we have tried over the years, this has consistently been one of our favorites. Apparently, lots of other people also like it, since it tends to fly out of the bins within days of landing in them.

Until now, we have only enjoyed this wine for its shear tastiness and incredible value in a bubble, not tasting it against anything else. But it is high time to put this wine into the mix with another, more expensive RdD! Problem: Costco currently doesn't stock any other wines from this region (which we would LOVE to see - hint, hint). So we took a trip down to Total Wine and found that their stock was also a bit limited at the time, but did manage to find another 2014 Ribera del Duero to go head-to-head with the Kirkland. A Reserva produced by Val Travieso.

2014 Ribera del Duero, Val Travieso, Reserva ($32.99)


2014 Kirkland Signature, Ribera del Duero, Gran Reserva ($13.99)

Let's check out the notes from our blind side-by-side tasting!

Wine #1: On the nose this wine presented aromas of dark fruits and subtle oak, inviting you to take a sip of the wine from the glass. Once on the palate, this wine has a robust mouthfeel with hints of smoke and some sweet dark fruits to round things out. There is a long and healthy finish. A bit one-dimensional, but a very good wine.

Wine #2: Wafting up from the glass, this wine presents itself in a more subtle and lean fashion. Instead of the darker fruits found in Wine #1, there are more red fruits that come to the fore. On the palate this wine shows brightness - fruit and acidity in spades. Secondary to the fruit there is a layer of earth, leather and dust. So much variety could leave a palate rather confused, but all of these elements seems to integrate quite seamlessly in this excellent wine.

The Verdict?

Wine #2 walked away with this one in a convincing unanimous fashion.

The Reveal?

Kirkland Ribera del Duero! We promise that we are not Costco lackeys - we really do taste these wines blind! A couple of contributing factors to keep in mind with these two wines. The Kirkland wine is 100% Tempranillo while the Val Travieso is indeed a blend of 87% Tinta Fina (another name for the tempranillo grape), 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot. This undoubtedly influenced the flavor profile differences in a significant way, perhaps more so than the different classifications (Reserva vs. Gran Reserva) of these wines.....A designation of “Reserva” indicates that the wine has been aged at least three years, with at least one of those in barrel, while “Gran Reserva” means that it was aged at least five years, with a minimum of two years in oak.

To this group of tasters, the Kirkland wine is easily worth the price of admission at $14. We always buy a number of bottles when it hits the stores and this vintage was no exception. If we have some self control, perhaps we will stash away a bottle and do a mini-vertical tasting next year when the 2015 vintage gets released. Better yet, if any of our readers would like to send one of the other vintages our way, we will gladly do that tasting as well! It's really a lovely wine and an incredible value. Now, if we can just get Costco to release the latest vintage of the Wilamette Valley Pinot Noir....


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