Front label of Kirkland Signature 2019 Toscana

It’s Back, and it’s As Good as Ever – KS Toscana 2019

Fast facts:

  • 2019 Kirkland Signature Toscana IGT, Italy ($14.99 @Costco; California – Product #1181768)


Our reviews of this “Super Tuscan” wine date back to the 2016 vintage, and this one represents our third visitation.  It remains one of our perennial favorites bottled under the Kirkland Signature label.  But it depletes quickly, so do what I am going to do: stock up!

We talk a lot about reading “clues” from a wine’s front and back labels, and this one contains several positive indications of high quality:

  1. The front label lets you know this is an IGT wine (Indicazione Geograhic Tipica) and – more importantly – is “Estate Bottled and Cellared”.  The former was created to allow winemakers to “color outside the lines” of traditional Italian rules by allowing the inclusion of French wine varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon to the blend, and which gave birth to “Super Tuscan” bottlings. The latter means that the production process was confined to a single wine estate as opposed to an massive blending cooperative. Co-ops are capable of producing some good high QPR wines  But the saying “good is the enemy of great” applies.

  2. The back label divulges that the vineyards of this estate are located in coastal Tuscany overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.  This is the high rent district and the area where many of the most sought after “Super Tuscans” come from. Another box checked…


Some of the most famous – and costly – wines in the world are produced here in the coastal vineyards of Tuscany . The famed wines of Tiganello, Ornellaia, and Sassicaia routinely fetch hundreds of dollars a bottle. A unique geography distinguishes this wine growing region. Instead of sunlight, natives speak of “luminosity”.

Thanks to the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea, daylight reflects off the water in the same way that a white umbrella diffuses light in studio photography. Because the elevation rises so gradually—from sea level to a gentle 300 meters—that glowing luminosity washes over the entire region, and the wine grapes it produces.

The coast sees hot summer days and cool nights, and that drop in temperature helps maintain aromatic freshness in the wines. There is also an herbal, Mediterranean quality to the wines that recalls the wild shrubs, or macchia, that blanket the surrounding hills. The French would refer to it as garrique and it is often in tasting notes for red Rhone wines.

Wine runs deep in Tuscany, aka, Toscana. Like the art of the Renaissance, it is tightly woven into the cultural identity of this central Italian region. But up until recently, the wines of Tuscany and Chianti were required to be made predominantly of Sangiovese. That was until some young turks came along in the 1970s and insisted on blending in varities like the aforementioned Cabernet Sauvignon, but also Syrah and Merlot.  The lawmakers in Italy eventually cried “Uncle”, formed the IGT designation to save face and the rest, as they say, is history.  Surprisingly recent history.

Agriculture forms the roots of the Tuscan lifestyle, and “the big three” – grapevines, olive trees and wheat – were historically all planted together in the same fields.

While wine has been cultivated in this part of Italy for centuries, this style of wine – known as the Super Tuscan – is positively modern.  Inspired several decades ago by a desire to create blends that didn’t need to fall within strict regulations, the Toscana IGT label gives winemakers the latitude to be creative, and emulate the blends of Bordeaux. While many of these wines are still dominated by Sangiovese (like today’s example) the ability to add in other varieties as the winemaker sees fit creates some truly classic and unique wines.

Alas, the exact blend of this particular wine remains a secret. But in past years is has been comprised of Sangiovese with (non-indigenous varieties) Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.


Front label of Kirkland Signature 2019 Toscana
Front label of Kirkland Signature 2019 Toscana, complete with gold foil, a coat of arms and phrases in Italian. You had me at Estate Bottled!


Tasting Notes:

Begins with a wonderful, enticing aroma of black fruit, cherry, baking spices, vanilla, oak and dusty, dried herbs reminiscent of the Tuscan countryside. In the mouth the wine full of red and black cherries, with a touch of sweetness and more baking spice along with touches of mocha and anise. It finishes smooth and with grippy tannins. This wine improves after some time to breathe. It is a lovely brick red, a bit lighter than typical Super Tuscans and not as substantial as my notes on the 2016 suggested, but a tad more complex than the 2018. This would pair well with pizza, pasta with red sauce, cured meats and grilled beef and chicken. 


From the bottle:

“The vineyards of this elegant cuvée overlook the Tyrrhenian Sea from the Tuscan coast. The harmony between soils and vines makes wine one with nature. A fresh and delicate red wine, showing flavors of wild herb, ripe cherry and raspberry. An elegant wine supported by firm tannins and a velvety smooth finish.” (Authors note: I am not fluent in Italian, but I am 95% certain the first two sentence here are translated into Italian of the front label of this wine.  Use this to impress your friends. You’re welcome!)

In addition to being the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany is central Italy’s most important wine region – and the country’s sixth largest wine-producing region. More than half of Tuscany’s hillside vineyards are planted with Sangiovese grapes. Historically the region is known for its production of Chianti. In fact, the Chianti zone is the oldest appellation in the region.


Bottle and glass of Kirkland Signature 2018 Toscana in front of a fire. $14.99 at Costco.
Winter means more time for fires, reading, and red wines that fit like a sweater.



Finally, if you are still working on your new years resolutions, here is some inspiration from your friends here:


Funny poster spied on the wall of an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles
Spied on the wall of an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles 🙂


Need More Wine Picks from Costco – or Trader Joe’s Even?

If your wine shopping excursions land you in Costco, prepare by grazing our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.

And if your shopping finds you at Trader Joe’s, you can find our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine here.

Happy hunting.





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